Blue Mountain Trouble

Blue Mountain Trouble

by Martin Mordecai
     
 

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Way up in the misty island mountains of Jamaica live eleven-year-old twins Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore. Pollyread is smart as a whip and tart as a lime. Jackson's sweet as a mango. Both of them know all the rules of their village -- and how to break them.

Then a young thug named Jammy sweeps in to stir up the twins' world. He even seems to be targeting

Overview


Way up in the misty island mountains of Jamaica live eleven-year-old twins Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore. Pollyread is smart as a whip and tart as a lime. Jackson's sweet as a mango. Both of them know all the rules of their village -- and how to break them.

Then a young thug named Jammy sweeps in to stir up the twins' world. He even seems to be targeting their family.  But are Pollyread's smart mouth and Jackson's steadiness enough to take him on - or will Jammy and his secret change the Gilmore family forever?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Blue Mountain Trouble

"I want a copy... in every library, in every school staff room from Montego Bay to Port Antonio, from Vancouver to Cape Town to Bristol and to Port of Spain. Blue Mountain Trouble has a wide role to play all over the English-speaking world. Why? Blue Mountain Trouble heals. It illuminates." -- Jean D'Costa, The Jamaica Journal

• "Most delicious of all in this plum pudding of a book is the language... Mordecai, without resorting to explanations or a glossary, teaches us how to hear and understand... We might well reach the end of the book, a lovely quiet conversational coda about the souls of the dead and the unborn, without ever exactly knowing what a "duppy" or an "obeah" is, but Mordecai pays us the compliment of respecting that readers have more than one way of understanding a word and a concept. When human relationships are honest and precisely observed, as they are in this novel, everything else falls into place as newly familiar." -- Quill & Quire, starred review

• "Mordecai's balance of the ordinary and the supernatural is Virginia Hamilton-esque in its delicacy. Jackson and Pollyread emerge as distinct and entirely likable individuals, their mutual affection and love for their parents both endearing and believable... A gorgeous snapshot of a locale and culture not seen enough in children's books." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"First-time author Mordecai, a native Jamaican, brings the Blue Mountain region of his homeland to life in a unique coming-of-age story tinged with mystery... Through colorful narrative punctuated with regional colloquialisms and poetic language ("When you sleep your whole life under open windows in a place so quiet you can feel the night sky move, then rain when it wakes you is like God telling you stories"), the author captures the rhythm of the children's daily life and effectively conveys their hopes, fears and family love as they look toward the future and learn secrets about the past." -- Publishers Weekly

"Mordecai's descriptions of the close-knit community are clear and vivid... [S]ince much of the dialogue is in a melodic Jamaican patois, readers use context and pattern -- and cues from the characters -- to infer meaning... Readers won't soon forget the time they spent with these spirited characters in a uniquely beautiful setting." -- Horn Book

"[R]ich in characterization with a beautifully realized setting. The elements of magic and mystery are intriguing, too, but best of all is the author's use of wonderfully idiosyncratic, powerfully expressive, and downright musical Jamaican English." -- Booklist

Publishers Weekly
First-time author Mordecai, a native Jamaican, brings the Blue Mountain region of his homeland to life in a unique coming-of-age story tinged with mystery. Next year, twins Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore will be moving to town to live with their aunt and attend secondary school. But for the time being, they are focusing on strange occurrences in their mountain village of Top Valley. Periodic sightings of a phantom goat that seems to act as their protector are unnerving, but more disturbing is the return of Jammy, a villager who has spent time in prison and has now taken root on the Gilmore's land. Through colorful narrative punctuated with regional colloquialisms and poetic language ("When you sleep your whole life under open windows in a place so quiet you can feel the night sky move, then rain when it wakes you is like God telling you stories"), the author captures the rhythm of the children's daily life and effectively conveys their hopes, fears and family love as they look toward the future and learn secrets about the past. Ages 9-12.
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Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Pollyread and Jackson Gilmore live in Top Valley where the clouds and blue mountains meet. When the twins walk to school, they step into a mysterious and wonderful setting unlike anyplace else in the world. One day the children see the image of a goat that quickly vanishes. What is the significance of this mirage? Where did it come from, and what does it mean? Days later, Pollyread is named valedictorian of her sixth grade class while her brother is accepted to a highly ranked high school. The twins are excited to be able to continue their education in the big city. Then a young man named Jammy, a lawless thug, destroys the peace and quiet of the village by growing cocaine and resisting arrest. Pollyread and Jackson feel an odd connection with this young man whose background is so different from their own. Will Jammy win acceptance on the island? Can he truly find his place in the world without the love and guidance of a father? In this magically crafted text, Pollyread and Jackson discover the mystery that cloaks the entire island, a mystery that is intimately connected with their own family. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–This interesting story had great potential. Set in Jamaica, it tells about the lives of fraternal twins, Pollyread and Jackson, 11, during the year they complete their primary school education and make plans for their futures. Mordecai portrays the challenges that the children’s parents and neighbors face with resourcefulness, hard work, and the ameliorating effects of sharp humor. When an ex-convict moves back to their community and begins to cultivate their father’s land, the twins discover that it can be more difficult to determine right from wrong than they’d previously suspected. Subjects including farming, marketing, the criminal justice system, competitive academic examinations, the drug trade, emigration, and more are crowded into the novel, which frequently veers off on tangents to the detriment of the plot.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Jackson and Pollyread are 11-year-old twins who live in Jamaica's Blue Mountains. One morning on their way to school, they encounter a "duppy" spirit, which appears to them as a hazily outlined goat. Only the twins can see the duppy; others only see it as a cloud. The family has become preoccupied with the dangerous antics of Jammy, the local Rasta ne'er-do-well who is squatting on their land, Mama's mysterious illness and the twins' very different results from the Common Entrance exams. Although extraneous details occasionally threaten to bog down the narrative, Mordecai's balance of the ordinary and the supernatural is Virginia Hamilton-esque in its delicacy. Jackson and Pollyread emerge as distinct and entirely likable individuals, their mutual affection and love for their parents both endearing and believable, as is their distress at the consequences of their exam results. Adding to the strengths of this tale are the colorful descriptions of the local setting and the artfully rendered dialect. A gorgeous snapshot of a locale and culture not seen enough in children's books. (Fiction. 11-16)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545041560
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/15/2009
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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