Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review of Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

I reviewed this title for the April issue of School Library Journal. Find the rest of the April reviews here.

VAN CLEVE, Kathleen. Drizzle. 358p. CIP. Dial. 2010. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3362-6. LC 2009023819.
Gr 4–6—Polly Peabody, 11, lives on an unusual rhubarb farm where it rains at exactly 1 p.m. every Monday, and some of the plants taste like chocolate. Like her parents and her grandmother before her, Polly loves the farm with all her soul. When Aunt Edith shows her a secret room, a library, filled with writhing ivy and bugs that fly in patterns that spell out words, she is thrilled. But then the weekly rain stops, plants start to die, Polly's older brother becomes ill, and Aunt Edith pressures Polly's dad to sell the property. Now Polly must interpret the farm's signs and symptoms to figure out both the problem and the solution. Why won't those insects just spell out what she needs to do rather than give her vague and puzzling hints? Polly's anxiety and lack of self-confidence—she is reading Emerson's "Self-Reliance"—keep her from making friends and dealing with a bully at school, although for readers, as for Polly, it's the stuff that happens on the farm that is most compelling. In general, Polly's insect and plant acquaintances are more developed than most of the humans, who never quite become convincing characters. However, Polly's gradual discovery of her own strange power and the joy she takes in her ability to help those she loves best is both entertaining and gratifying. Give this whimsical fantasy to fans of Ingrid Law's Savvy (Dial, 2008).—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

1 comment:

  1. I was doubtful at first, but this has made it onto my list! Even though Savvy wasn't really a book I Loved with a capital L.