It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.
Wymer, Tracy Edward. Soar
July 5th 2016 by S&S/Aladdin
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Eddie's father was an avid bird watcher who swore he saw a golden eagle, but other local enthusiasts doubted him. Since his father is gone now, Eddie is bound and determined to catch sight of the eagle and use it as his topic for the science symposium, which his father won when HE was in the 7th grade. Unfortunately, Eddie is partnered with Mouton, who doesn't like Eddie and seems to have Tourette's syndrome. With the help of new Brazilian neighbor Gabrielle, Eddie puts together a project, tries to get along with Mouton, and works through his feelings about his father.
Strengths: I'm tired of two things in middle grade fiction: parents who die, and bullies. While this has both, it addresses the issues in a much more realistic manner than just about any other middle grade book out there. Big points for that. The book moved quickly, had anxious tension that seemed very middle grade; liked this more than I thought I would.
Weaknesses: Mouton means sheep. Who would DO that to a kid? I also wanted to know a lot more about Gabrielle's experience in a new country, and really wanted to know more about her father's therapy group that involved adults with language and speech difficulties working with birds. Gabrielle introduces her father as "deaf and mute"-- not sure that's the latest terminology.
What I really think: Middle grade kids who DO things-- that's what I really need in a book. This was sort of like Bart King's The Drake Equation, but more realistic and less humorous. Think I will buy this one and include it in the Problem Novels unit. Won't be hugely popular, but will see steady use.