Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye (Middle Grade Fiction)

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9780876142042: Sylvia and Miz Lula Maye (Middle Grade Fiction)
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In 1978, ten-year-old Sylvia and her mother move to Wakeview, South Carolina, where Sylvia becomes best friends with a woman approaching her one hundredth birthday.

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From School Library Journal:

Grades 3-6--When Sylvia Freeman moves with her mother from Florida to South Carolina in 1978, she doesn't know a soul in town. With her mom out working in the pepper fields all day long, the African-American child is on her own and befriends an elderly neighbor. An unlikely best friend for the almost 11-year-old, the 100-year-old woman shares her life and wisdom with the lonely girl, and Sylvia feels special in her presence. The plot thickens when a strange "Mystery Man" arrives and turns out to be her father-and Miz Lula Maye's long-lost grandson. Soon after Sylvia's parents met, her father was drafted and lost touch with her mother when she stopped writing. She never told him about their daughter. When he returned from Vietnam, the disoriented veteran was unable to locate either his sweetheart or the grandmother who had raised him. Now that he's finally back, he and Miz Lula Maye have a touching reunion, though the storybook ending stops there. Ms. Freeman is still not in love with him and the family's future is uncertain. The only sure thing is that Sylvia and Miz Lula remain the best of friends. The protagonist is a spirited, sassy girl with a strong, engaging voice, and the old woman is warm and spunky. Despite the somewhat convoluted plot, this first novel is a satisfying, humorous read.
Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

This lumbering first novel takes place during the summer of 1978, when 10-year-old Sylvia moves to rural South Carolina with her mother, who has found a job picking peppers. On her own during the day, the African-American youngster strikes up a friendship with Miz Lula Maye, her 100-year-old neighbor. When the girl's mother, who refuses to discuss their family history with her daughter, asks Sylvia if she really likes "hanging out with that old lady," the girl defensively replies, "What do you mean? What's wrong with being friends with an old lady? She makes me feel alive! We have fun together doin' things and talkin'! I like spendin' time with Miz Lula Maye besides, she doesn't even act old!" Sylvia's first-person narrative frequently sounds forced and becomes burdened with inconsequential details. After eating lunch one day with her elderly friend, for instance, Sylvia helps the woman tend to her cat's broken tail and then lies down to nap, noting, "As I drifted off into a much needed and deserved sleep, my last thought was that I was surprised I hadn't thrown up that delicious ham sandwich." With its sleepy pace and overly neat conclusion (Miz Lula Maye's long-lost grandson reappears and turns out to be Sylvia's father), this will likely hold little interest for most young readers. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Pansie Hart Flood, Felicia Marshall (Illustrator)
Published by Carolrhoda Books (2002)
ISBN 10: 0876142048 ISBN 13: 9780876142042
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Book Description Carolrhoda Books, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0876142048

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