The 2007 Newbery Medal winner is now in paperback. Lucky, age 10, doesn't expect running away to be so complicated. A large cast of magnanimous surprises awaits her when she plans to hide from her guardian in the Mojave Desert. Illustrations.The 2007 Newbery Medal winner is now in paperback. Lucky, age 10, doesn't expect running away to be so complicated. A large cast of magnanimous surprises awaits her when she plans to hide from her guardian in the Mojave Desert. Illustrations.Read Less
Newbery winner deserves readership, not censorship
All dogs must wear pants. And books like The Higher Power of Lucky should be banned. That seems to be the opinion of some regarding this Newbery Medal?winning book for young readers. The mention of a dog?s private parts near the beginning of The Higher Power of Lucky has created a controversy and calls to remove the book from library shelves across the United States. It?s a sensitive issue, to be sure. But what parents and readers should know is that the book is a sweet, tightly written story that absolutely is bigger than one innocent anatomical reference and its resulting brouhaha.
Lucky is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a small desert town aptly named Hard Pan. The soil is rock solid, and many town residents have hit rock bottom. Hard Pan claims only 43 inhabitants but many 12-step programs. In search of her own higher power, Lucky lurks and listens outside the meetings of those who are recovering from tobacco, alcohol, and other addictions. What she seeks is greater security and a higher wisdom. After all, her mother was killed by a lightning strike, and her dad is the definition of ?absentee father.? Lucky?s guardian, Brigitte, just might be planning to leave the California desert for her own family in Paris. So Lucky is increasingly desperate for, well, some solid ground among all that hardpan.
From this conceit, author Susan Patron builds a family of characters that is quirky and vibrant. Hard Pan, it seems, is a refuge in the Mojave for the down-and-out. Lucky is at home among such motley, marginalized folks. But she soon realizes that she must run away from Brigitte, and that sets in motion the adventure that will both entertain and enlighten readers.
Patron?s simple little novel has a magnanimous heart. She writes with a wit that doesn?t patronize children and a voice that speaks clearly about both hardship and hope. In a world filled with fantasy-focused children?s literature?the Harry Potters and Artemis Fowls?Patron writes about non-magical subjects like alcoholism and foster parents. She writes for the kids who live in such households, as well as for their friends and the other young readers who care to open such fictional-yet-factual doors. Yes, she also mentions an anatomical part. At the beginning of the novel, Lucky hears about a dog that was bitten in his privates by a rattlesnake. This incident is treated with finesse and a complete lack of sensationalism. (If you?re a parent, I recommend reading the first few pages to see if you agree with me.) After all, ours is a world where canines don?t wear pants and children of all ages witness dogs in this natural light; Patron merely puts an appropriate word to that reality. Then she moves on to more realities, and as she does so, she takes her readers on a heartfelt, humorous, and heartening journey.
May 31, 2007
Lovely illustrations and way beyond just the kid-level writing.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-02-12 Patron's poignant Newbery-winning story about a girl who fears being abandoned by her legal guardian-and her only semblance of a family-sails along with believable childlike rhythms and kid's-eye-view observations. Listeners will especially appreciate Campbell's subtlety and smooth, comforting delivery in a heartbreaking scene in which 10-year-old Lucky recalls, with gentle support from her best friend, her deceased mother's memorial service. On the remainder of the recording, Campbell remains a welcoming guide to Lucky's world-populated by eccentric friends, the quirky townspeople of tiny, struggling Hard Pan, Calif.-and Brigitte, the guardian she desperately wants to keep, maybe with some help from a Higher Power. Campbell appropriately gives recent Parisian transplant Brigitte a French accent, though it's thankfully never overplayed. By program's end, listeners will be rooting for Lucky and Brigitte to remain together forever. Contains an interview with the author, in which Patron says she is working on a companion novel. Ages 9-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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