Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Perfect for mid-graders who feel a bit overwhelmed with life.----- For those who need to see the other side of the coin, a bit of empathy is a very good thing." ~Jocelyn
A light-hearted tale of a boy who gains self-confidence with the help of some timely mentoring.

Albert is short — very short — and he hates it. His older brothers are tall like his father, but he takes after his petite mother. He wears too-large hand-me-down clothes from his bigger brothers. And worst of all, his very best friend moved away to Brooklyn during the school break. It was all so unfair.

Albert is beginning Middle School on Little Scrub, the small Caribbean Island where he lives. As he steps on the bus, and sees the older kids, he feels smaller than ever. They take one look at him and howl with laughter, chanting "Little Man, Little Man, you so small, didn't hardly see you at all."

Things go downhill from there, and would've stayed down if it wasn't for an encounter with Peachy, the leader of a troupe of stiltwalkers. The stiltwalkers do a lot more than walk: they dance and leap across the sand on spindly eight-foot high wooden stilts, their brilliantly colored costumes shimmering in the moonlight.

Peachy invites Albert to join the high school students he teaches to stiltwalk. It's not an easy decision for Albert. Would they laugh at him even harder than the Middle School kids? And he is queasy about heights. The thought of wobbling around on those skinny wooden sticks makes him woozy with fear.

But Albert is won over by the thought that one day he might actually be up there, tall as a palm tree, dancing around without fear or hesitation. Besides, desperate times call for desperate measures and nobody was more desperate than Albert.

Slowly, as his stiltwalking improves, Albert finds his self-confidence grows. He becomes less of a target for teasing at school and he makes some new friends.
Jocelyn says:
"Why is life so hard all of a sudden?

New middle-schooler Albert's best friend moved to New York City- so far away from the Caribbean Islands where they grew up together!!!!!

Albert skipped a level of math, since it was so easy for him, and now he has NO idea what's going on in his new math class. Does this mean he isn't good at math anymore? He's ALWAYS been good at math!

Everyone in Albert's grade is taller than he is- will he ALWAYS be the shortest kid always?

Will his dad ask him to go way up and clean the gutters again when it was so scary to do so last year?

Life is pretty hard for Albert right now- with his new school, hard math and his best friend thousands of miles away. But- ohhhhh- there is one great thing. There are the Mocko Jumbies- the stilt walkers.So thrilling- so scary-so attractive-so....tall.

Would he dare join them if he could?

Maybe the biggest problem of all, though- will he always be lonesome and friendless?

Don't worry- things get figured out, understood and resolved in such satisfying ways. His loving parents, and other sympathetic adults in his life, help in more ways than one.

Perfect for mid-graders who feel a bit overwhelmed with life.----- For those who need to see the other side of the coin, a bit of empathy is a very good thing.

This book is just brilliantly written.So good for so many reasons! I loved loved loved this book!"

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