Kathleen Van Cleve has woven an unforgettable comingof- age tale with all the heart and wonder of a Roald Dahl novel.
- ISBN-13: 9780803733626
- ISBN-10: 0803733623
- Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: March 2010
- Page Count: 358
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 50.
- Review Date: 2010-03-01
- Reviewer: Staff
With a sense of magic that recalls Ingrid Law's Savvy, this bighearted coming-of-age story stars 11-year-old Polly Peabody, who lives with her family on a farm like no other. At Rupert's Rhubarb Farm, magic abounds: chocolate rhubarb flourishes; it rains at 1 p.m. every Monday; there's a lake in which no one can drown; and tourists clamor for rides on the giant umbrella. But when a mysterious mist descends, things go haywire: Polly's brother, Freddy, gets sick, her Aunt Edith threatens to sell the farm, and Polly gets in a fight with her best friend, Harry (a chocolate rhubarb plant). While Aunt Edith encourages Polly to read Emerson and look for opportunities away from the farm, in her heart Polly knows that she belongs nowhere else, and she must overcome her numerous fears (like of the farm's giant insects and slimy “slugsand”) to discover her own gift and save the farm. “I have to believe that something good can always happen. In other words, I believe in magic,” says Polly, whose oddball traits and sensitivity make her a lovable, sympathetic narrator. Van Cleve's debut is emotionally subtle and action packed with a highly memorable setting. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)