Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis

I recommend this book for: grades 4-7

Oh, it's fun to read kid's books! The heroine of this tale is 7th grader Emma Jean, logical thinker and social outcast. Her scientific way of looking at things doesn't make her friends, but she's mostly content to observe from a distance, saving her friendship for her mother, the kindly custodian, and the professor who boards on the third floor of her house and cooks authentic Indian meals. But then Emma Jean runs into Colleen crying in the bathroom, and Colleen asks her to help . . . and Emma Jean knows exactly how she can.

With her keen powers of observation and a basic knowledge of word processing, Emma Jean is out to save the 7th grade from every problem that's in her power - with mixed results. The crisis of the book comes when Emma Jean's interference causes a bigger problem than the one it solved, but it's only middle school angst, and resolved very neatly. Emma Jean is an interesting character - her verbosity annoyed me in the earlier chapters, but as I spent more time with her it grew on me. A clever, funny book with lots of heart, most tween girls who can get past the long words will just eat it up!

What the pros said.

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