cover image Planet Jupiter

Planet Jupiter

Jane Kurtz. Greenwillow, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-056486-5

Fifth-grader Jupiter identifies with her “rolling stone” father, who left three years earlier and sends occasional postcards, and with the planet for which she was named; she longs for a wide orbit in which to travel and have adventures. In a playful yet introspective narrative, Jupiter shares her frustration at being stuck on an Oregon farm when she’d rather be living an itinerant life, busking for tourists with her cellist mother and her older brother, Orion. The unexpected arrival of seven-year-old Edom, the adopted Ethiopian daughter of Jupiter’s ailing aunt Amy, spurs Jupiter’s mother to move everyone from Rainbow Farm to a vacant house in Portland; there, Jupiter and Edom secretly plot to get Edom back to her mother in California. Through themes of gardening and foraging, Kurtz (Anna Was Here) subtly conveys the girls’ underlying fears of abandonment, as well as the idiosyncratic but determined efforts of Jupiter’s mother and her friend Topher to provide a “forever family” for the children. A host of quirky and appealing supporting characters rounds out this engaging, empathic story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (May)