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Forming bonds in a time of war
It's the summer of 1943, and for twelve-year-old Celie Marsh the war seems awfully close to her coastal Massachusetts home. She worries about bombs and submarines, and about her big brother, who can't wait to go off and fight. Her little brother doesn't seem to need her anymore, and her best friend has moved away. When her father brings Charley, a monkey, home from work one day, Celie finds the comforting companion she has been missing. But more upheaval is in store: irritating Joey Bentley moves in with his crabby grandmother next door, her mother takes a job building warships, and worst of all, Charley proves to be too wild for Celie to manage. A near disaster forces Celie to make a heart-wrenching decision that teaches her painful lessons about friendship, family, and the meaning of love.
This tender novel about relationships, based on the author's mother's experience, is elegantly crafted and suffused with warmth, as well as with a powerful sense of time and place.
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Jane Buchanan is the author of Gratefully Yours, Hank's Story, and most recently The Berry-Picking Man, a Booklist Editors' Choice. She lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Grade 5-7–As a 12-year-old living in coastal Massachusetts in 1943, Celie obsesses about the war and its potential impact on her life: the possibility of a U-boat invasion, or a bomber attack, or that her brother will enlist even though he's underage. Distraction comes in the form of a pet monkey that her father brings home. Charley proves to be quite a handful–always curious, clever enough to get into plenty of mischief, and unpredictably aggressive. Fortunately, Celie gets an ally in keeping track of him when her crabby next-door neighbor's grandson comes to spend the summer. She initially thinks that Joey is about as desirable a companion as a case of poison ivy, but comes to appreciate his imagination, resourcefulness, and generosity. When Celie's brother runs away from home, Joey helps her track him down in Boston; and by the time she realizes that Charley must be given to a zoo, she has recognized that her friend's private concerns and grief (his father is killed in action near the conclusion of the book) are deeper than her own. A solid piece of historical fiction, this novel could engage animal lovers as well as children interested in the World War II era.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0374350205
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0374350205
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110374350205