Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Junonia by Kevin Henkes

Title: Junonia

Author: Kevin Henkes

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Year: 2011

Pages: 192

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: Coming of Age, Family

Age Level: 3rd Grade and Up

Summary: Junonia begins as Alice Rice and her family embark on their annual vacation by the sea. Every year, Alice celebrates her birthday in a cabin called Scallop, surrounded by her parents and fellow vacationers. Although this year's trip begins with a sense of promise and magic, that feeling quickly disappears as Alice's family is joined by Aunt Kate and a troubled young girl named Mallory. Alice spends her vacation trying to reconnect with that initial feeling of magic by searching for the rare Junonia shell.

Review: I have always been a fan of Kevin Henkes' picture books (Julius, the Baby of the World is my favorite), but have not always connected with his novels. That being said, I found Junonia and its cast of characters to be quite relatable. Alice is a girl who, on the outside, appears reserved and calm. On the inside, her mind is swirling with multiple musings: Could God be a beautiful woman named Junonia? Why is Mallory so unhappy? How do I know when I am really growing up? When will I find my little piece of perfection? As I accompanied Alice on her journey of self discovery, I was treated to sparse and beautiful prose that I can only describe as Patricia McLachlan-esque. Though I enjoyed Junonia as a reader, I believe it lacks mass appeal for young readers. As a teacher, I believe it would be a great addition to a classroom library, but I would not use this book for guided reading or read aloud.

Teaching Resources:

1 comment:

  1. I got this book in May at the Book Expo and I was going to take it to the shore in August for the kids to read. Thanks for this review.