Fourth Grade Journey

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

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Key to Everything by Pat Schmatz

How I Heard About It:  This novel came to via the publisher.  The book hit the world on May 8th.  I loved the cover the was excited to see what the story was about.  

What It Is About:   What does an eleven-year-old do when her father is put behind bars and the mother is absent?  Tash finds herself living with her uncle.  She is also looked after by the elderly lady next door who she calls Captain Jackie.  When her uncle needs to travel, and the Captain can't care for her, Tash has to spend a month at a summer camp.  She isn't thrilled about this, but once at camp, find herself enjoying herself.  Upon her return, Tash is upset to learn that Captain Jackie is "missing" and no one seems to know where she is. After some investigation that Tash and her uncle conduct, they learn that Jackie has taken a fall and is spending time in a rehabilitation center.  The situation throws Tash for a loop and she works hard to put her life back into the order it was before she left for summer camp.  

What I Thought Of It:  The story started without much background information.  The first few chapters were also a collection of letters from each of the characters.  This was a bit confusing, but once the "letters" were over, the plot fell into a rhythm and nice pace.  I enjoyed the character of Tash.  She was strong, unique, and determined.  Captain Jackie added greatly to the story and was multi-faceted.  There weren't any great big surprises, but was an easy and enjoyable read.  

Who Should Read It:  I would recommend this novel to girls in grades four, five, and six.  The story revolves mostly around Tash so I'm thinking female readers will relate to her story more than boys.  Middle-school girls would also be readers to put this book into the hands of.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  3 STARS out of 5 Stars

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