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Reviews
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris
Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Avenging the Owl by Melissa Hart
Bigmama's by Donald Crews
Cat With a Clue by Laurie Cass
Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting? by Lauren Child
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Cy Whittaker's Place by Joseph C. Lincoln
Empty Places by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Honey by Sarah Weeks
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
The Last Monster by Ginger Garrett
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban
Pretty in Ink by Karen E. Olson
Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Sea Change by Frank Viva
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Slacker by Gordon Korman
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
This is San Francisco by Miroslav Sasek
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson

Miscellaneous
October Reading Summary

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Cloud and Wallfish: 10/30/16

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet is set in East Berlin in 1989. Normally East Berlin stories are taken from the perspective of East Germans trying to escape. It's always a preposition of your choice to the wall (over, under, through). It can be through a tunnel, it can be through the sewers, in a hot air balloon. But getting out is always the point.

Granted, the wall was a terrible thing. It disrupted lives. It cut families in two. It was a forty year mess. But people lived there and there must be other stories besides those who try to leave and either succeed or fail.

Cloud and Wallfish is about a regular kid with a bit of a stutter but a good ear for language who is suddenly taken from school by his family, given a new name (and a new birthdate) and relocated to East Berlin. His mother is there to study how the East Berlin schools approach learning difficulties while his dad is there to write a novel.

Meanwhile, Noah — now Jonah — is trying to follow the rules his parents have given him. They are to keep him (and them) safe. But they don't tell him what they are keeping safe from. They leave him to guess and to assume, which means he makes mistakes (and gets some things right too).

The German word for whale is Walfish, which to Noah (who never really accepts his new name), becomes Noah's nickname. The girl who lives in the apartment below Noah gives it to him. Her name is Claudia, which to him sounds like Cloud.

Claudia is the one person Noah really connects with. But for reasons that neither understands, the two children are kept apart for much of the book. Claudia happens to be my favorite type of characters — the one who says things that sound off the wall but are grounded in reality. Understanding how she interprets things leads to understanding the truth behind the story.

Cloud and Wallfish would work well in a classroom setting. It's a compelling story but it's also educational. Each chapter ends with a nondiagetic bit of historical information explaining things mentioned in the chapter.

Five stars

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