Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Skylark and Wallcreeper

Carelli, Anne O'Brien. Skylark and Wallcreeper
October 2nd 2018 by Yellow Jacket
ARC provided by the publisher

Lily is visiting her grandmother, Colette, at her senior facility when Superstorm Sandy hits their Queens neighborhood. Since Colette is grail and struggles with dementia, Lily stays with her when the facility is evacuated to an armory in Brooklyn. She's also a big help to the nurses, and even heads out to try to find food for the other residents. While she's out, she manages to lose a Mont Blanc fountain pen that her grandmother has entrusted to her safekeeping, mentioning that the pen should be delivered to Marguerite, of whom Lily has never heard. In flashbacks about Colette, we learn about her childhood in Brume, France under the Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Colette was approached by the Resistance to disguise herself as a boy and act as a messenger, having the people to whom she delivered mysterious packages since her notebook with an "X", using the fountain pen. It was during this time that Colette met Marguerite, whose father was very active in the Resistance. The two ended up working together. In alternating chapters, we find out more about the Superstorm and the progress in getting the senior residents settled, and about the course of the war as it affected Colette and her family. Lily eventually tracks down a fountain pen store to see if she could replace her grandmother's pen, but it turns out that someone has found it... and the owner has sent it to a woman named Marguerite, who has been looking for a similar pen for years. Lily decides that it is imperative that she go visit Marguerite, and sets off on an adventure to meet her. Family history is revealed, and Lily gets to fulfill her grandmother's long time dream of being reunited with her friend.
Strengths: This is similar to Weissman's The Length of a String, in that it deals with a child in the US and the story of a grandparent who is a young age during the war. I like this one a little better because there is more adventure in both stories. Colette and Marguerite are very daring when young, and it's interesting to see them as an elderly women, especially when we find out a little more about their lives-- Colette planted gardens all over the world! The story about the storm is interesting as well, and I'm a sucker for a fountain pen!
Weaknesses: This seems longer than it is. The print is a great size, but it does bring the book in at 400 pages. This is about twice as long as your average middle schooler wants to read, but I still think I can sell it when the 8th grade does its Holocaust unit.
What I really think: Queens seems a bit like Key West to me-- why would anyone think it was a good idea to settle there? The cover is good, and I always need more books about World War II, so I will be purchasing this one.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I'm always up for reading about that era, so I'll mark it TBR. I also like to pass on books about this period of our history to kids.