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PEACE, LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson


by Jacqueline Woodson

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24655-5
Publisher: Putnam

Lonnie, of Locomotion (2003), is turning 12. He writes letters to his sister, Lili, to keep in touch between occasional visits arranged by their respective foster mothers. He is happier living with Miss Edna now, but is concerned about forgetting his “real” parents, who died in a fire years ago. Miss Edna’s got her own worries, with one grown son “over there fighting in the war.” Woodson successfully develops characters that readers will feel close to, but this epistolary narrative does not sparkle as the novel-in-verse did for its predecessor. There, lightness of plot was carried by the energy and accessibility of the poems, which also supported a heartfelt voice that seemed genuinely 11-year-old-boy. Here, Lonnie’s extraordinarily thoughtful and articulate letters are a little harder to swallow and do less to engage interest. The short length, the Brooklyn setting, the resonance of the characters’ situations with those of many young readers and Woodson’s undeniable literary talent still distinguish this among the reading choices available for this audience, but it’s only for collections where the one title just won’t suffice. (Fiction. 10-14)