Box Top Dreams

Miriam Glassman, Author
Miriam Glassman, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-32532-5
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Living ""in a simple red house... with an ordinary mom, an ordinary dad, and an ordinary sister,"" fifth-grader Ariadne Spire longs to discover something ""sensational"" about herself. With her best friend, Danny, she conducts her search via comic-book and gossip-magazine advertisements, mailing in for magic potions and telephoning psychics. But when Danny moves away, she feels lost and wishes she could navigate her way through the maze of growing up. Instead, there are obstacles in her path, like a nasty substitute teacher, Mrs. Zwort, and a manipulative classmate who seems to want Ari to join her tiny clique. First-novelist Glassman brings a certain ambitiousness to an essentially familiar theme, overlaying her narrative with skillful references to the myth of Ariadne and to Ari's favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz. While she misses some opportunities for developing her characters (e.g., she fast-forwards through such scenes as Danny's move), and while the resolution seems easy (Ari, like Dorothy, discovers happiness more or less in her own backyard), her writing is often dotted with color: ""Ari's mother had a way of pronouncing certain words as though she were pumping blood into them. When an ordinary word like dog came out... Ari could really sense a big, smelly dog."" Although this novel may not be fully achieved, the writer shows clear promise. Ages 9-12. (Feb.)
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