Monday, January 9, 2017

When Mischief Came to Town

Booklist starred (November 15, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 6))
Grades 3-5. A shipboard goat has just devoured one of Inge Maria’s braids when she lands on a remote island off the coast of Denmark and meets her stern-looking grandmother for the first time. It’s not an auspicious beginning to the young orphan’s new life. Or is it? Much is not what it seems in Australian author Nannestad’s endearing chapter book. It’s a sweet, old-fashioned narrative, whose time frame is never stated but rather implied by wagons lumbering up the road, bloomers flapping on a clothesline, and modern technology lacking. Contemporary readers will nevertheless take delight in the mischief Inge Maria creates as she meets the island’s denizens and struggles to fit in. The still-grieving child, while trying to be brave in the face of her mother’s death, notices that her grandmother is mourning, too. And though her grandmother appears stiff at first, it soon becomes evident that the old woman may not be as averse to mischief as she seems. Rounding out the novel are a schoolmate with a secret loss of his own, a rebellion over girls not being allowed to run during recess, and an ill-fated nap in a herring shed, resulting in a yarn too good to pass up.

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