Saturday, February 16, 2019

A Drop of Hope

Calabreese, Keith. A Drop of Hope
February 26th 2019 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Times are tough for many of the students at Rod Serling Middle School in Cliffs Donnelly, Ohio. Ernest, whose father runs a local parts factory, has just lost his grandfather and needs to clean out his attic. Ryan's father, who works at the factory, watches too much television news and makes sure that Ryan does lots of work mowing other people's yards for money, even though Ryan insists on mowing for one elderly lady for free. Lizzy's father has left, and her single mother works long shifts at the hospital, leaving Lizzy in the acre of an aunt and cousins who think she needs a makeover. Tommy's brother went to the military and left behind his tools, which Tommy takes to school to hide so his father doesn't sell them. Winston Patil's father is a well-to-do doctor who has moved the family from Chicago to small town mid-America because he thinks it's charming, but Winston has a hard time fitting in. When Ernest finds a selection of old, mint condition toys in the attic, he feels they need to be shared with others, and after a chance encounter with a couple of classmates at a local well, he starts to do this, with interesting results. Tommy starts drawing, the elderly neighbor notices Ernest's resemblance to his long deceased great-uncle, and others in the town find out surprising things about themselves and others. Encouraged by their outspoken and supportive teacher, the children try to improve their community in small ways, and by working together, form unlikely friendships.
Strengths: The descriptive writing is strong, imparting a strong sense of place, intersting, unique characters, and an overwhelming sense of hope in the face of straightened, but not dire, circumstances. The different threads of the stories were woven together well, and there were lots of touching moments. Teachers looking for a read alouds along the lines of Because of Mr. Terupt will enjoy this one.
Weaknesses: This was a bit on the long side, and was very slow with lots of characters to keep straight.
What I really think: I'm not entirely sure about this one. Since I'm out of money for this school year, I will keep it in my for my August book order.
Ms. Yingling

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