Books by Nancy Ruth Patterson

ELLIE EVER by Nancy Ruth Patterson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 14, 2010

Nine-year-old Ellie and her mother live in a shelter following the loss of Ellie's farrier father, their home, the family dog and all their possessions in a hurricane. Ellie's mother is offered a job taking care of rescued horses on a Virginia estate, and Ellie gets a scholarship to an exclusive private school. In her first days there, the other students begin to believe that Ellie is a royal princess living in the estate's mansion. At first Ellie does nothing to disabuse the rumor and even cultivates princess-like habits, as the misapprehension has done wonders to get her past new-girl outsider status. Eventually her hand is forced, and she has to find the courage to tell them the truth about her past—but that past feels false, along with much of the story and the too-good-to-be-true Ellie. As she and her mother face their first Christmas after the hurricane, Ellie's narration conveys the feeling that her mother's making fried chicken compensates for her father's death, and nothing about the princess story feels credible. A decent start poorly realized. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
THE WINNER’S WALK by Nancy Ruth Patterson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 13, 2006

Everyone in Case Callahan's family is a winner—except for Case. He drops a ball while juggling in the talent show, his model heart explodes during the science fair and he breaks his arm during a horse-riding competition. Then a dog shows up on the family property, and Case's mom agrees to let him stay—at least temporarily. Case realizes that the dog, named Noah, is special; when Case sees him pick up a ringing phone, he can't believe it. The two enter an agility contest and win, but this leads to a call from Noah's previous owner. Noah was actually trained to help handicapped children, and it's up to Case to decide whether or not to keep him. Although the primary characters are well-realized here, some of the secondary characters are a bit thin, and a sudden friendship with a more popular boy from school is somewhat surprising. However, Case is a sympathetic, appealing hero, and readers will root for him as he makes an important decision that shows what being a winner is really about. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
A SIMPLE GIFT by Nancy Ruth Patterson
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 15, 2003

Carrie, 10, has caught the acting bug, especially when she finds out that her mother's award-winning children's book is being staged in her mother's hometown in North Carolina. This spunky New York City girl is in for many surprises as she heads for the mountains to work with the Broadway director, show-off Liza Barrett, and Storm Sellers, who's repeating the fourth grade. The visit to her hometown also gives Carrie's mother the opportunity to talk about her kindhearted brother, who died when she was little. When Carrie's attempt to impress and outdo Liza results in the humiliation of Storm and the loss of the play's star, Carrie must admit her fault and devise a plan to win him back. By the end of the production, she discovers that acting is a team effort and learns the true identities of the play's characters. Through Patterson's use of theater terms, newspaper articles, and children's questionnaires, this progresses interestingly, the pieces coming together beautifully for a conclusion that will satisfy its young readers. (Fiction. 8-11)Read full book review >
THE SHINIEST ROCK OF ALL by Nancy Ruth Patterson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 6, 1991

Robert is out of sorts. The other kids keep teasing him because of a speech defect that turns his R`s to W`s—he can't even say his own name correctly (this is Virginia, where every syllable of ``Robert Morris Reynolds'' has significance); he keeps getting into trouble because cranky Mrs. Snead recognizes his voice so easily and because his distress makes him lash out with uncharacteristic anger. Fortunately, Robert's parents are both wise and sensible: choosing the right moment, his mom gets Robert to agree to go to a speech therapist, and he's soon on his way to earning the special rock the therapist promises him when he can say ``rock'' properly. Meanwhile, he's become more aware of others' feelings: after a dare sends him on a stiff hike with class fatty ``Chunkie,'' Robert decides to call him by his real nickname, ``Chuckie''; he has a rapprochement with his sister, and also works through some tricky moral issues after a former friend confesses that she has copied his answers on a quiz. In fact, too many of Robert's troubles are tidied up to be entirely believable, but that's a minor fault in a lively story with perceptively realized characters engaged in solving problems that are sure to be familiar to their fellow fourth graders. (Fiction. 8-11)*justify no* Read full book review >