Fourth Grade Journey

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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin...

How I Heard About It:  I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this at NCTE15.  I remember walking through the exhibits after getting a copy and being intrigued by the cover.  My pile of books to read is ever growing but after seeing RAVE review by Colby Sharp, I found my copy of this book and got busy writing.  

What It Is About:  Thyme Owen is use to life in California.  She has to put this life behind her when her five-year old brother is accepted into a program in New York City to treat his aggressive cancer.  Thyme knows this is the right move for her family, but is sad to be leaving her home and her best friend.  Once the family relocates to New York and her brother Val starts his treatments, Thyme finds herself lost both physically and emotionally.  She makes the best of her new school, tries to get to know the new kids and "fit" in.  The  family has ups and downs with Val's treatment which brings stress to the household.  Thyme continues to keep her California friendship in check while navigating new waters with the girls at school.  She gets involved in the school show which also has positive and negative effects.  As more and more time goes by, Thyme realizes her time in New York might not be as temporary as she thought and may have to say goodbye to California altogether.  

What I Thought Of It:  I can see why Colby raved about this book so much.  I so enjoyed the story and am really thrilled I got the chance to read it before it hits shelves in April.  One element of the story that I appreciated the most was the character of Thyme.  She was well developed, authentic, and easy to relate to.  The main plot was engaging, but there were also many "mini-plots" that enriched the entire story.  The author included serious themes, light themes, and everything in-between.  It was such a rich and beautiful story line that I had a hard time putting it down each night.  Of course there was also a bit of mystery as to what the outcome would be with Val and if the family would stay in New York or return to California.  

Who Should Read It:  This will be an outstanding middle-grade novel to add to your classroom collection.  The book would make for a wonderful read aloud in grades four, five, and six.  Fifth and sixth grade readers would find great satisfaction with Thyme and her life.  It may appeal a little bit more to female readers, but I wouldn't discourage our boy readers from giving it a try.  If there is time this year, I would like to use this as a read aloud this year.  Adult readers should also give it a read because I know they will love it as much as Colby and me.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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