What It Is About: Every once and awhile a character comes along, weaves his/her way into your heart, and makes an imprint that will last a lifetime. That is what occurred with Mason and myself. Mason doesn't fit in. He is larger than the rest of the kids. He isn't as smart as the other students. Mason does find refuge with a school counselor and the special space she created for the students. He also had a best friend named Benny. The two boys depend on each other for everything. When Benny has an accident at their tree house, Mason is left alone to fend for himself. He is lost, sad, and confused. There are some adults that don't believe that Mason is telling them everything about the day Benny fell from the tree house. Because Mason struggles with reading and writing, he isn't able to process his thoughts via paper and pencil. The school counselor provides him with the "dragon" that allows him to get his thoughts, feelings, and memories out of his mind and on "paper". Mason also meets a new boy that couldn't be more different from himself, but they forge a new friendship. Each of them is the target of the school bullies. Together they create a "secret" world in a cellar on Mason's property. The cellar may lead to another situation similar to what Mason experienced with Benny.
What I Thought Of It: As the young people like to say; OMG!!! I absolutely loved this story. From the moment I opened the book to the moment I finished the last sentence, I was completely spellbound by Mason, his journey, and the life-lessons he learned along the way. The story was heart-warming, touching, and well written. Not only was Mason a strong, solid, and real character, but one that showed me the true meaning of friendship, life, and truth. The characters that surrounded Mason added greatly to the plot and created a circle of real and powerful relationships.
Who Should Read It: I just created a short video book talk about this title that I shared with my fourth grade readers. It is the perfect novel for fourth grade readers. One reader in my class picked it up from me today and brought it home to read over the weekend. The book should also be in every fifth and sixth grade classroom. Of course middle-school readers will also want to experience the story of Mason. Adult readers that enjoy middle grade realistic fiction stories MUST read this book. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars