Reviewed for Fifth Grade, 2008

The Higher Power of Lucky

This book won the Newbery Medal in 2007, but it was in the news for another reason: the controversial inclusion of the word "scrotum" on the first page. But despite the dismay by some that such language was not appropriate for a child's ears (or eyes), the story, with all its quirks, is perfect for fifth grade readers who may have heard it all, but don't yet know what it means. Lucky is a ten-year-old who lives in Hard Pan, a tiny desert town, with her guardian, Brigitte, her friends Lincoln and Miles, and her faithful dog HMS Beagle. Ever curious about the world, Lucky spends her days collecting interesting insects, eavesdropping on her town's 12-step meetings, and worrying that Brigitte might get tired of Hard Pan and move back to France. This book is simple and straightforward, but captures the reality of an intelligent and plucky young girl whose take on life will ring true for kids and adults alike. A quick, satisfying - and yes, completely wholesome - read that is sure to please! (Atheneum, $16.95)