Diamond Willows 2011

Continuing my record of the Willows for 2011 with the Diamond Willow Nominees.

After all, You’re Callie Boone by Winnie Mack.  Callie’s lost her best friend and is trying to make her way though the worst summer of her life with only her zany family and a new neighbour.  A story of family, friendship, perseverance told with humour.  I had to look twice at this one as it is a Willow nominee which means the author is Canadian and the book has a solidly American feel to it.  It is by a Canadian living in the USA so it’s a Canadian as Gordon Korman.  Still Korman usually manages to feel North American and this one is definitely  aimed at an American audience.  That said, I enjoyed the quirky characters and wanted to see how it would turn out.  Suitable for grades 4-7.

Ortega by Maureen Fergus.  I didn’t want to like this book. I disliked the premise and it took a couple of chapters for me to get over it but the book is well-written and completely engaging.  Part adventure, part science fiction, part realistic fiction (if you can get over a talking ape) and definitely told with humour.  Well worth reading or suggesting as a read.  Suitable for grades 4-8.

Tumbleweed Skies by Valerie Sherrard.  Historical fiction set in the 50’s in Saskatchewan.  An engaging and evocative read.  I loved the characters – their rich histories, their disappointments, their relationships with each other.  I enjoyed the plot development – the growing understanding between the characters, the falling out with the friend, the release of the wild bird.  The only part which didn’t quite sit right was the strange accent of the grandmother, uncle and father.  Do people in Saskatchewan have a mid-west US accent?  Not that I have found but maybe in the 50’s.  My understanding of Saskatchewan in the 50’s would be Mennonites, Ukrainians, Germans, and British.  None of them have this kind of accent but hey I’ll check with my dad, he was here then and still is. Not a big deal just a little odd.  In re-reading I wonder if the accent is written there or something I’m just hearing in my head but it’s the use of the work ‘kin’ which makes me wonder.  Suitable for grades 3-5.  Themes: family, death, independence.

The Gargoyle in my Yard by Philippa Dowding.  This is a funny and interesting little book.  An enjoyable flight of fancy.  Kathryn Newberry has had a gargoyle move into her backyard and he’s causing piles of trouble.  Themes: humour, fantasy, solving problems.  Looks like a good read aloud for Grades 3-5.


More to come as I finish reading them…



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