CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A THIRD-WORLD KIND by Jennifer J. Stewart

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A THIRD-WORLD KIND

Age Range: 4 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twelve-year-old Annie is not pleased when her father announces he’ll spend his sabbatical working as a medical missionary in Nepal. Following a long 747 flight, a stomach-wrenching prop-plane ride, and an endless hike, Mom, Dad, Annie and her five-and-a-half-year-old sister Chelsea find themselves (relatively) safely encamped in tiny Tumlingtar. Annie knew things would be rough, but the culture shock is intense: she’s expected to wear an ankle-length skirt! She befriends ten-year-old Nirmala who’s the best translator in the village; they help at the clinic, fight to get Chelsea to go to kindergarten, and rescue each other from local dangers. Just before Annie is slated to go home, Nirmala’s mother, who has just delivered her seventh child, suggests Annie’s family take Nirmala with them to America. Happiness ensues. This has much more in common with Stewart’s most recent The Bean King’s Daughter (2002) than her fantasy romp If That Breathes Fire, We’re Toast (1999). Full of local color and snippets of cultural information, the comedy-adventure will surely please its intended audience. With just enough danger to keep the pages turning and an authentically voiced narrator, readers can forgive the too-convenient ending. (Fiction. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8234-1850-2
Page count: 148pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2004