Stacy (11) liked things the way they were - just she and her dad, living under the "bluest sky in the world." Now Barbara is here, and soon she'll have a baby brother or sister. Stacy has had enough. After one argument too many with Barbara, she heads east, out into the Oklahoma prairie. She quickly discovers that the bluest sky covers a very big, scary world. On her first night, two German shepherds greet her and lead her to Ella. Old Ella and her matter-of-fact ways are just what Stacy need to figure out what comes next.
This slim novel (106 pages) packs a powerful, endearing story that will stay with readers a very long time. This is a very strong candidate for a high interest / low readability book for high school students.
In one scene, Stacy has to kill a sick and dying puppy. It is not overdone, and Stacy's emotions ring from the page. However, it could upset some young readers.
At first I was a bit skeptical of the story, and felt like it was going to be predictable. It definitely wasn't. Stacy is a young girl that all young readers can relate to, and Ella is a character to be admired and feared. Although there is no "year" associated with the story, it is easy to envision rural, small-town life in the early 1900s.
This coming of age story gives readers a sense of time and place, but with a timeless message.
The predominant themes are family and dealing with your emotions. The story addresses them in the context of the choices and realities of everyday life. The book offers the opportunity to look at life from several points of view - Barbara, Old Ella, Stacy, and her dad.
10 and Up
10 and Up
Buy. This is a book that will stay with you, and for teens, it may be a book they come back to every once in a while just to get Old Ella's perspective on life.