The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

by Beth Hautala

Publication Date: February 20th 2018 : AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks Depository Chapters Indigo

Add to GoodReads shelf

 

I simply loved The Ostrich and Other Lost Things! This was a 5 star read and I want to place this in the hands of all upper elementary and middle grade readers. The book is mainly told through the eyes of 11 year old Olivia. She lives at home with her mom, dad and older brother Jacob who is autistic. Life doesn’t always go as planned with Jacob around and Olivia loves her brother so much but sometimes she just wants things to be different. She wants one thing that is just her’s since she feels sometimes her life is overshadowed by her brother. She has her superpower according to her dad: she is a finder of lost things. So not being able to find the toy ostrich that her Jacob loved so much really bugs her. There is a traveling zoo in her little town while the big zoo in Oklahoma is getting fixed. She meets Charlie, his mom is the keeper at this part of the zoo. They become best of friends and it is just what Olivia needs. Charlie is able to keep Olivia in check and has an understanding of Jacob and how hard it is to not be like everyone. Charlie was in an accident and is now blind. So he can give Olivia a perspective that she can’t understand. He also is a great friend in listening and telling her when she needs to be nice and that not everything is about her. He is her support and friend for this trying summer of growing up and trying to figure out what she likes, who she is becoming and how Jacob’s violent outburst are changing their family home. The story is realistic and one I think the reader can learn from. Olivia loves her brother so much but she is just a kid and sometimes she gets upset and frustrated but doesn’t express her outburst that well since she is just 11. I liked that in my eyes the author portrayed her very realistic, really I think the whole story seemed very relate able.  There is more to the story: the mystery of the missing Ostrich toy, The real life Ostrich that keeps getting out and coming to Olivia’s window and the moment when Jacob runs away after a very bad fight where Olivia says things she can’t take back. This scene is a good lesson in not talking to someone when your mad at them. Sometimes you say things that you want to take back instantly but it’s to late. Grab The Ostrich and Other Lost Things for yourself, your upper elementary reader or middle grade reader.

About this Book: In this beautifully written novel, the bonds and challenges of caring for a sibling with autism are bravely explored, along with the pain and power that comes from self-discovery. 

Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor’s misplaced glasses. There’s only one thing Olivia has never been able to find–her brother Jacob’s toy ostrich. It wasn’t until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she’s his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it’s Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow–unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob’s sister, Olivia’s not really sure who she is.

So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children’s production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals–including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob’s missing toy–only make matters worse, as Olivia’s summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob’s needs as the rest of her life has been.

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

Thank you Penguin Young Reader and Philomel Books for sending me a copy of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

I am not an affiliate so I will not receive any money from any purchases made by clicking the links to buy the book.

Advertisements

Lone Stars

by Mike Lupica

 

 

Clay is a quarterback’s dream. When he zips across the field, arms outstretched, waiting for the ball to sail into his hands, there’s no denying him the catch. Like most Texans, Clay is never more at home than when playing football. And his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, is just like a second father.  But as the football season kicks off, Clay begins to notice some odd behavior from his coach—lapses in his memory and strange mood swings. The conclusion is painful, but obvious: Coach Cooper is showing side effects of the many concussions he sustained during his playing days. As Clay’s season wears on, it becomes clear that the real victory will be to help his coach walk onto that famous star logo in the middle of Cowboys Field one last time—during a Thanksgiving day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

I usually don’t read a lot of sports books that are geared towards boys. I know I should but just never seem to pick them up. I’m trying to change that and I did with Lone Star. I know this author is very popular with upper elementary and middle grade readers. The main thing I really liked about this book is that the author uses it to shed light on head injuries in football. This is a very serious topic and one that young football fans and players should know about. However in Lone Star  the reader get’s to see how this head injury affects a loved one. Clay’s beloved football coach is suffering for the many years of getting hit in the head and receiving concussions while playing football when he was younger. Coach Monty has lots of help and support with his team and this is a heartwarming read. I liked that it had positive role models and that the kids were so willing to help out their friend in need. They were really more than just a football team, they were family.

Thank you Random House and Philomel Books for sending me a copy of Lone Star. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book. 

Making New Friends storytime

Starting Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten or just first day of school jitters can be a scary thing.  You have to make new friends, you’re experiencing new things and everything is so new. Whether it’s a new school or your old school but your starting a new grade or in a new hallway.

Sometimes reading books about making new friends the first few days of school or leading up to school starting helps ease kids minds and make it a less scary thing.

I found 2 great books that are perfect for story time, or bed time.

friends Collage

Ribbit!

by Rodrigo Folgueira

illustrated by Poly Bernatene

ribbit

A sweet story with a great little message, and the illustrations just are so cute and pretty.

One morning a group of frogs shows up at their pond. You wouldn’t believe what was sitting in the middle of that pond on their rock, none other than a little pink pig. When they ask what that pig is doing it says “Ribbit!” Well they don’t know what to do, they ask other critters what to do. They decide to go find wise old beetle what  he thinks about this situation.  Wise old beetle says maybe he/she just wanted to make a new friend.

Peanut Butter & Cupcake!

by Terry Border

peanut

Peanut Butter and Cupcake! is an adorable book that is sure to delight kids!

Hello I’m new here, and I’d like to play Maybe now, maybe later-or even all day. I’ll make you chuckle deep down in your belly, And we’d go together like Peanut Butter and ….

Peanut Butter has just moved into town and his mom tells him to go out and meet some new friends. Peanut Butter has a great little line he springs on each new friend he meets along the way. However most of the kids { cupcake, spaghetti and meatballs, soup and spoon, french fries, etc…} tell him no thanks and that they are busy. Peanut Butter is sad all he wants is to play ball with a new friend. Making friends can be a hard task. However when the right friend comes along you just know it. Lucky for Peanut Butter, Jelly wants to play and knows how to play ball too. Before long all those kids that wouldn’t play with him are playing and they are one big happy friend group!

Adding Ribbit! and Peanut Butter and Cupcake! will make for a great story time that will hold the kids attention. Both of these books have wonderful, sweet messages and will break the ice those first few days of school.