Blow out the Moon

Blow out the Moon

4.7 4
by Libby Koponen
     
 

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Peppered with black-and-white photographs, illustrations, personal letters and documents from the author's own youth, this humorous and touching coming-of-age story follows a young American girl as she attends an English boarding school in the 1950s.

Overview

Peppered with black-and-white photographs, illustrations, personal letters and documents from the author's own youth, this humorous and touching coming-of-age story follows a young American girl as she attends an English boarding school in the 1950s.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
The word delightful is overused in reviews, but it's difficult to find one that's more appropriate for this novelized memoir -- though warm and cozy would do in a pinch. During the 1950s, Libby Koponen's family moves to London. Leaving is difficult, and life is no easier there. A fan of boarding school stories, Libby jumps at the chance to go away to Sibton Park in the English countryside, where she does make friends, learn to ride a horse, and is noticed for her writing talent. This seems to be a book that first-time author Koponen has waited a lifetime to write. Almost every page is dotted with photos or souvenirs, but even more intriguing than the visuals are the word images she offers of herself: a bit of a swaggerer who proudly informs the Brits about the Boston Tea Party, but can appreciate the silvery light of the English countryside. Today's readers, especially Harry Potter fans, will love the British bits and the details of boarding school life. One thing will surprise them. Having read about Libby's taking the Tube alone and going off to school by herself, they'll assume she's 11 or so. When she matter-of-factly states she was eight during her time in England, they'll more clearly grasp the idea of a simpler time.
—Ilene Cooper
Children's Literature
A step back in time, this book reads much like a journal, is found in the fiction section and is based upon the author's experience as an eight year old. Set in the 1950's, young Libby's family must move from the United States to England for a year and a half due to her father's employment. Saddened to have left her friends and after a less than stellar experience at their local London school, Libby spends the remainder of her time in England on the 88 acre estate of boarding school Sibton Park. Her experiences before, during and after this period of her life are documented in a fictionalized fashion that is entirely refreshing! Pictures of things and people (family members, schoolgirls wearing uniforms from the period, coins, table settings, the school, letters, stories and letters the author wrote, games such as cats cradle and jacks) are dispersed amply throughout the book. These black and white representations pleasantly augment the recantation of her story, as do gray fact boxes that are found sporadically, discussing seemingly unfamiliar topics such as Guy Fawkes Day, prefects and song lyrics. An obscure note on the back cover mentions a companion Web site; a delightful compilation of the first six chapters of the book, color pictures, related fairy tales and the like. This is the author's first published book and she invites comments. She lives and writes in Boston. Recommended. 2004, Little Brown and Company, Ages 8 to 12.
—Cindy L. Carolan
Kirkus Reviews
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)
Publishers Weekly
Billed as a novel, this debut describes the year and a half the author spent as an American child in England during the late '50s; like a scrapbook, it incorporates a few family photos, ephemera, handwritten letters, as well as short sidebars explaining terms like "counterpane" and "lemon curd." "I'll start the story one fall afternoon," it begins ingenuously, quickly cutting to Libby's excitement at the news that her father has been transferred to "the London office of J. Walter Thompson." The chapters move episodically from one memorable event (to Libby, at least) to the next: Every one of Libby's classmates makes her a farewell card when the teacher gives them the opportunity ("I was surprised that the girls liked me so much!"); on the trans-atlantic crossing the family is seated at dinner with a man who wears a "huge feathered headdress... a kind of turban with big feathers" and long pale green robes, but no one investigates his identity; and at her school, the teacher joins the children in laughing "in a mean way" at Libby's accent. The book becomes more interesting when Libby's parents find her a wonderful boarding school and Libby delivers the skinny on school matrons, prefects, horses, uniforms-even a midnight feast. Rarely does the author link the episodes or explore young Libby's emotions, and consequently the text feels more like a series of extended travel anecdotes than a work of fiction. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In this novel based on the author's childhood in the 1950s, Libby, an engaging and feisty girl, moves from New York to London with her parents and three younger siblings. Her first school in London is a less-than-positive experience-the children tease her, and even the teacher is unkind. But things look up when she is sent to Sibton Park, a boarding school in the countryside, where everyone is nicer. Koponen is a gifted writer whose distinctive style has a conversational rhythm from frequent use of colons, dashes, and the like. She is especially good at describing what to modern children will seem like a very different time, with adults thoroughly in charge and children expected to sit quietly while the grown-ups talk. The author is very good at a kind of straightforward subtlety, an asset in a quiet book whose main focus is on emotions. The book's visuals are another asset, with small photos placed throughout, showing the author's childhood letters, pictures from her favorite fairy tales, the ship her family sailed on to England, and more. As a novel, the story lacks dramatic tension, especially after Libby leaves her first English school, but overall this is a thoughtful and interesting book.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Billed as a novel, this debut describes the year and a half the author spent as an American child in England during the late '50s; like a scrapbook, it incorporates a few family photos, ephemera, handwritten letters, as well as short sidebars explaining terms like "counterpane" and "lemon curd." "I'll start the story one fall afternoon," it begins ingenuously, quickly cutting to Libby's excitement at the news that her father has been transferred to "the London office of J. Walter Thompson." The chapters move episodically from one memorable event (to Libby, at least) to the next: Every one of Libby's classmates makes her a farewell card when the teacher gives them the opportunity ("I was surprised that the girls liked me so much!"); on the trans-atlantic crossing the family is seated at dinner with a man who wears a "huge feathered headdress... a kind of turban with big feathers" and long pale green robes, but no one investigates his identity; and at her school, the teacher joins the children in laughing "in a mean way" at Libby's accent. The book becomes more interesting when Libby's parents find her a wonderful boarding school and Libby delivers the skinny on school matrons, prefects, horses, uniforms-even a midnight feast. Rarely does the author link the episodes or explore young Libby's emotions, and consequently the text feels more like a series of extended travel anecdotes than a work of fiction. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In this novel based on the author's childhood in the 1950s, Libby, an engaging and feisty girl, moves from New York to London with her parents and three younger siblings. Her first school in London is a less-than-positive experience-the children tease her, and even the teacher is unkind. But things look up when she is sent to Sibton Park, a boarding school in the countryside, where everyone is nicer. Koponen is a gifted writer whose distinctive style has a conversational rhythm from frequent use of colons, dashes, and the like. She is especially good at describing what to modern children will seem like a very different time, with adults thoroughly in charge and children expected to sit quietly while the grown-ups talk. The author is very good at a kind of straightforward subtlety, an asset in a quiet book whose main focus is on emotions. The book's visuals are another asset, with small photos placed throughout, showing the author's childhood letters, pictures from her favorite fairy tales, the ship her family sailed on to England, and more. As a novel, the story lacks dramatic tension, especially after Libby leaves her first English school, but overall this is a thoughtful and interesting book.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316614436
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
06/28/2004
Edition description:
Age Range 8-12 Yrs Old
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Libby Koponen received her MFA in writing from Brown University. She is a freelance writer and also does volunteer work with children. She lives in Boston.

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Blow Out the Moon 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a really good book about a girl who goes to a boarding school in England. Its one of my favorite books and I really reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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