Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Rome Reframed

Bearce, Amy. Rome Reframed. (Wish & Wander #2)
February 2nd 2021 by Jolly Fish Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Lucas' parents are professors who are taking a year off to travel and write a book about different cities. Because of this, he's missed six months of his 8th grade year as well as his final soccer season, and he's tired of being away from home and having to watch out for his two younger brothers. When he finds out that he is about to fail his final project, and therefore 8th grade, he has to use the final days of his stay in Rome to try to improve his photojournal of his trip. He has the help of the girl whose family runs the bed and breakfast where he is staying, Vivi. As the two revisit sites like the Colisseum and Pantheon, he learns a new appreciation for them. It helps that he has been given a magic coin at the Trevi Fountain by an unusual woman, and doesn't throw it into the fountain because once he does back to Austin, Texas, he really doesn't want to return to Rome. This coin will occasionally make him travel back in time to see battles at the Colosseum or to talk to Michaelangelo, which definitely gives him a lot more insight into history and reinforces the importance of his time in Rome. Will he be able to show his new appreciation for the benefits of travel so that he can rejoin his class in Austin as they head off to high school?
Strengths: I am a sucker for any book set abroad, and my students are particularly interested in Rome. There are not as many books about travel with boys as the main character, so I was pleased to see Lucas traveling around Rome. His friendship with Vivi was a good detail, and I loved how his parents made him babysit his younger brothers because they were trying to finish up their book. What 8th grader doesn't want to wander around Rome, even with younger brothers in tow? There aren't enough books that show students struggling with school work but ultimately prevailing. Projects and assignments are a big part of middle school. Of course, as a former Latin teacher I LOVED all of the details about traveling around Rome. 
Weaknesses: This didn't start with the feeling of magic that Paris on Repeat had, so I was a little surprised when Lucas traveled in time, even after meeting the palm reader. Of course, so was he! 
What I really think: If travel books are popular in your library, definitely look into Bearce's Paris on Repeat and hand the Wish and Wander books to fans of Callaghan's Lost In... books or the If Only series. 
 Ms. Yingling

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