Today’s Pick: Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
Published by Candlewick Press
Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.
Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?
The premise of this story caught my attention and I was intrigued. I read through this story quickly because I wanted to find out why Jack was alone and whether he’d find his mom. It was an interesting twist on a survival story, since Jack wasn’t totally out in the wilderness. Jack’s character and reactions were believable, although at times he seemed a little young for his age.
As a writer, I loved the way the author used details to show Jack’s anxiety and tension, as well as to create a sense of his surroundings.
“Song rose up, and even though he was too tired to concentrate on the words, it tucked in around him like a soft blanket.”
“He missed his mom so much at that moment, that moment of cloud watching, that he could almost feel his thoughts traveling to her, and finding her, and making her pick up her phone.”
Jennifer Richard Jacobson is a writer, teacher and educational consultant. She Boston and in New York. She loves to travel and used to be a competitive swimmer. She knew she wanted to be a writer when she was in fourth grade.On her website she talks about writing that creates mental pictures: “I don’t rush moments, I try to help the reader feel as if he or she is right there with the main character.”
She also discusses one of the reasons she writes: “I love that books can help us to realize that we’re not alone — that others share the same interests and problems.”
Andy Shane, Hero At Last
Andy Shane and the Barn Sale Mystery
Andy Shane is Not In LoveAndy Shane and the Queen of Egypt
Winnie at her Best
Andy Shane and the Pumpkin Trick
Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Delores Starbuckle
Winnie Dancing on Her Own
Moon Sandwich Mom
A Net of Stars
For more info, visit Jennifer Jacobson’s website.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!