Thought for the Day:
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”
~ Ray Bradbury ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I have become a world-class procrastinator when it comes to my writing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. The post HERE by Tamar Sloan on Writers Helping Writers is worth a look if you have any procrastinating tendencies.
I am always in awe when I read a truly fresh, brilliant metaphor. Writers Helping Writers has a great post HERE on the topic of metaphors.
We have all heard we must kill our darlings. The article HERE from Authors Publish will give you three solid reasons for this good advice.
I really am making an effort to dig through my very staggering TBR pile, and I knocked off another one this week. I’m so glad I finally got to it. The book is Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. After I read the book and was getting ready for this post, I looked up the author and discovered I had recently read and reviewed another of her books, The Dollar Kids. You can see that review HERE. I liked that book very much as well, but this one really moved me.
Jack and his mother are on a trip to Maine, a camping trip for Labor Day weekend. Jack has really been looking forward to it, and his mom gets them to the campground and they get set up — two small borrowed tents, one for each of them. Jack’s mother can be pretty unpredictable. Sometimes she’s sad and quiet, and other times, what they call the spinning times, she’s happy and excited, whirling like a hurricane. Jack is tired and sleeps hard, only to wake up to find his mother, her tent, and the rental car all gone. At first, he thinks she just went for some food, but deep inside he knows she’s just gone. He starts looking for her in the park and even goes into the nearest town to look for her. He only has a few dollars and is 250 miles from home and anyone he knows. But Jack can’t ask for help. If he does, Child Protective Services might take him away from his mother, and as unpredictable as she can be, he loves her. He has a grandmother, but his mother has told him she’s really bad. So Jack is going to have to find his way home on his own.
The one thing that is a constant in Jack’s life is his love of elephants. He has always loved them, read everything he could about them, knows that they are smart and loyal and loving to each other. He finds great comfort in elephants, and there is one in Maine. He really wants to see it. Since he has to find his own way home, he decides to find his way to the elephant on his way. He has quite an adventure, doing things he never would have done otherwise, and, using his wits and smarts, accomplishes quite a lot. But through it all, the reader is reminded just how vulnerable Jack is and how heartbreaking this story can be.
Jennifer Richard Jacobson is such a terrific writer. This is a book you can probably read in a long afternoon, but you will want to savor it. Her prose is beautiful and her story is so compelling. The characters, even those who are only in a few scenes, are real and believable. The situation, unfortunately, is one that readers can relate to personally or know someone who has been touched by Bipolar Disorder. This is a story that will help kids (and others lucky enough to find this book) become more empathetic and understanding. Don’t miss this book. I know it’s been out there a few years, but if you haven’t read it, now is the time. And isn’t that cover gorgeous? I can’t recommend this book enough.
I have a gently-used paperback of this book for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.