BLOW OUT THE MOON by Libby Koponen


Age Range: 8 - 11
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Fried bread, gray rain, drab institutions. There’s a lot to get used to when a spunky American tomboy and her family temporarily relocate to England circa 1950. After experiencing a repressive London school, Libby is grateful to be transferred to a Queen Anne manse on 88 acres of classic British countryside, with horse paddocks and wood-paneled dormitories straight out of the storybooks she reads obsessively. Young and uncertain, Libby soon warms to the place, slowly reining in her unbridled nature before her bittersweet return home. Told from Libby’s POV—through somber narration and vintage sidebar images—the slight story’s coming-of-age elements seem oddly archaic but ring true; they’re based on the author’s own childhood memories. Small daily scenarios are reflected through a rear-view mirror. This surprising emotional distance and less-is-more storytelling underwhelms the senses. The elegant simplicity echoes the prim discipline of classic boarding-school life, and politely nods to “Little Women” with its docile manner and Libby’s secret admiration of Jo, a yet-to-be-discovered writer like herself. Harking back to gentler times, this winsome, nostalgic memoir is as delicate and old-fashioned as a doily on a wingback chair. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-316-61443-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2004