Friday, July 8, 2011
Chapter Book Review: Junonia by Kevin Henkes
Henkes' novel is one of those quiet, gentle plots that unfolds just like the ebb and flow of the tides. The conflict within Alice provides the greatest tension, as she wrestles with the reality of her trip, and how things have turned out differently from her ideal version. I think there's a lot here that speaks to kids of a certain type, the kind of child who craves routine and precision and is somewhat undone when actual events don't match up to expectation. And isn't that all of us, at some time or another?
Or maybe it was just me, but I can see how watching Alice deal with the way things change in this pivotal year would offer a number of opportunities to talk with kids who are themselves undergoing change. Whether that change stems from adding another family member, a move, changing schools or moving up a grade, or just getting older, Junonia is a book that will help kids see how change, though unsettling and not easy, can also bring about a lot of positives.
And in any case, Junonia is a pitch-perfect choice for reading aloud, a book whose subtle rhythms would make for the perfect bedtime read, whether on vacation at the beach (I wish!) or snuggled up together at home.
Junonia by Kevin Henkes, published by Greenwillow
Ages 8 up
Sample quote: "After all, she was going to be ten. Finding a junonia would be the perfect gift. She picked up one of her new tulip shells and turned it in the light. It was covered with bluish gray and brown markings. Its inner surface was lustrous. . . . It was many things, but it wasn't a junonia." (pp 87-88)