What It Is About: Do you ever feel like two people? The person that the outside world sees and the person you see on the inside. This is the world that Zoe lives in. Zoe has a wonderful imagination, but it only remains in her own mind. She thinks the rest of the world only sees a shy and "quirky" girl. Zoe isn't like her older popular sister or her younger science-smart brother. She is caught in the "middle". Zoe spends most of her time in her father's "Wonderland" which is a greenhouse where he grows exotic plants. After a visit with a "stranger" that stops by the Wonderland, Zoe and her best friend Quincy decide to order some seeds to grow a baobab tree. This new "adventure" sends both Zoe and Quincy on a path of exploration, self-discovery, and learning that the world isn't always fair or kind. Both of these children need to learn to deal with and accept big life issues and changes.
What I Thought Of It: Having a brand new book that I know nothing about land in my lap is one of my most favorite things to happen. As soon as I finished Maxi's Secrets, I started this novel and loved it from the get-go. I found the story line to be original, fresh, and full of life. The character of Zoe was lovely and I found myself wanting to know her and find out more. The characters of the neighbor lady and the "visiting" man from Madagascar added greatly to the story. There were lots of great life lesson woven throughout the story which many young readers will be able to relate to. What a great gift from Nancy Paulsen and I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to read this before it comes out in August.
Who Should Read It: This is the perfect middle-grade novel. The length of the book is wonderful at 195 pages. The chapters are relatively short which I think is appealing to young readers. The plot moves along at a terrific pace which will keep the reader interested and involved throughout the entire story. A strong reader in third grade would be able to handle the book. In my opinion, it would be geared toward the reader in grades four though six. It might appeal to a female reader a bit more, but I also think it could work for our male readers. If you are looking for a class read aloud, this would be an awesome story to share with a group of listeners. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars