Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan...

How I Heard About It:  The pre-release buzz on Twitter about this book was crazy.  It was driving me crazy that I couldn't get an ARC of the book, but it was worth the wait once I got this "major" book in my hands.  

What It Is About:  This is not an easy novel to describe.  It is so many genres wrapped up into one.  The story begins with Otto in a forest where he meets three mysterious sisters.  They send him on a quest that involves a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.  The story then goes forward in time to a boy named Friedrich who lives in Germany during the war.  He has the "special" harmonica and must use it to rescue his father from the Nazi party.  The harmonica then shows up years later with Mike who lives in Pennsylvania.  He must protect his younger brother from the evil foster care system.  Finally the story takes the reader to California and a young girl named Ivy.  She has the harmonica and must use the power of it to keep her family together during times of segregation.  All three stories come together in a grand "musical" finale and of course the "magical" harmonica.

What I Thought Of It:  When I found this novel in the bookstore, I was surprised by the size of the book.  It is pretty massive and also quite beautiful.  It is one of those novels that when you open, you experience pure magic.  This was a one of a kind reading experience.  I loved how the beginning of the story started with Otto.  I was then surprised to find that the rest of the book consisted of three different stories.  I kept wondering how they would all come together.  I found out the answer with the incredible conclusion.  This may be a novel that I revisit in the future and experience it all over again.  

Who Should Read It:  The book is geared toward the readers between the ages of ten and fourteen.  In my opinion, it is better suited for readers who are fourteen and above.  Knowing my fourth grader readers, I don't think most would be able to handle this book.  It is long and has quite a complex story line.  I did see a former student at the book fair buying this book.  She is now in sixth grade.  I told her she will really enjoy the story.  I also know that adult readers, such as teachers and librarians, will enjoy this unique and special story.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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