BLOW OUT THE MOON

Libby Koponen, Author
Libby Koponen, Author . Little, Brown/Tingley $16.95 (209p) ISBN 978-0-316-61443-6
Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Hardcover - 978-0-316-99019-6
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-02573-7
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-316-01480-9
Prebound-Glued - 209 pages - 978-0-7569-6827-4
Ebook - 978-0-316-02574-4
Open Ebook - 114 pages - 978-0-316-13844-4
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Billed as a novel, this debut describes the year and a half the author spent as an American child in England during the late '50s; like a scrapbook, it incorporates a few family photos, ephemera, handwritten letters, as well as short sidebars explaining terms like "counterpane" and "lemon curd." "I'll start the story one fall afternoon," it begins ingenuously, quickly cutting to Libby's excitement at the news that her father has been transferred to "the London office of J. Walter Thompson." The chapters move episodically from one memorable event (to Libby, at least) to the next: Every one of Libby's classmates makes her a farewell card when the teacher gives them the opportunity ("I was surprised that the girls liked me so much!"); on the trans-atlantic crossing the family is seated at dinner with a man who wears a "huge feathered headdress... a kind of turban with big feathers" and long pale green robes, but no one investigates his identity; and at her school, the teacher joins the children in laughing "in a mean way" at Libby's accent. The book becomes more interesting when Libby's parents find her a wonderful boarding school and Libby delivers the skinny on school matrons, prefects, horses, uniforms—even a midnight feast. Rarely does the author link the episodes or explore young Libby's emotions, and consequently the text feels more like a series of extended travel anecdotes than a work of fiction. Ages 8-12. (June)

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