Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

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****Olive's Ocean

by Kevin Henkes

Reviewed February 3, 2004.
Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins), New York, 2003.  217 pages.
A 2004 Newbery Honor Book.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #8, Children's Contemporary Novels

In Olive’s Ocean, a character writes, “Maybe I can make kids change their opinions on emotion books like some authors did to me.”  Kevin Henkes stands a good chance of doing that with this book.

Olive died at the start of the summer.  She was only twelve years old.  Her mother gives a page of her journal to Martha.  In it, Olive said that she wants to be a writer, that she wants to see the ocean, and that she wants to know Martha, “the nicest person in my whole entire class.”

As it happens, Martha is on her way to visit her grandmother by the ocean the very next day.  And Martha wants to be a writer herself.  On that trip, with all that happens, she can’t stop thinking about Olive, and writing, and how you never know what life will bring.

This is a moving book, beautifully written and highly deserving of being a Newbery Honor Book.

Reviews of other books by Kevin Henkes:
The Year of Billy Miller
Penny and Her Song
Penny and Her Doll
Penny and Her Marble

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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