Carolina Crow Girl

Carolina Crow Girl

5.0 4
by Valerie Hobbs
     
 

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In this beautifully written, moving novel, Valerie Hobbs explores the fine line between safety and stagnation, rootlessness and freedom.

Carolina lives with her mother, Melanie, and her baby sister in an old school bus. "Wheels make you free," Melanie says, even though Carolina has to start in a new school every year and leave just when she's getting

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Overview

In this beautifully written, moving novel, Valerie Hobbs explores the fine line between safety and stagnation, rootlessness and freedom.

Carolina lives with her mother, Melanie, and her baby sister in an old school bus. "Wheels make you free," Melanie says, even though Carolina has to start in a new school every year and leave just when she's getting settled. But this time things are different. First Carolina finds an abandoned baby crow and decides to care for him until he's old enough to fly. Then she meets Stefan, who lives in the mansion near where they've parked the bus. The two become friends, and Carolina starts, little by little, to set down roots. What's going to happen when Melanie wants to hit the road again? 

“From the start, Hobbs dazzles readers…This is the remarkable story of two outsiders who find it possible, through a friendship, to unlock the doors of their own cages.” —Riverbank Reviews

"Readers will find themselves quickly drawn in by Hobbs's strong characters and rapidly unfolding plot." —School Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“From the start, Hobbs dazzles readers…This is the remarkable story of two outsiders who find it possible, through a friendship, to unlock the doors of their own cages.” —Riverbank Reviews

"Readers will find themselves quickly drawn in by Hobbs's strong characters and rapidly unfolding plot." —School Library Journal

"Interesting characters and a strong plot, and it's fair to say that Crow steals the show, teaching Carolina how to accept change and to fly in spite of it." —Kirkus Reviews

Eleven-year-old Carolina Lewis, her mother, Melanie, and her baby sister, Trinity, live in a school bus. The bus is hidden on the Crouch estate, behind a stand of ecualyptus trees near the ocean, not far from Santa Barbara, California. Melanie has driven the bus across the United States. They stop whenever there are opportunities for Melanie to find enough work to pay for food and other necessities. Now, they have taken up residence in a field above the Pacific Ocean. Carolina meets wheel chair-bound Stefan Crouch III, whose father owns the field, and is 11 years old, like she is. They fast become buddies. In fact, when Carolina's mother decides to move to Oregon, Carolina chooses to stay behind and live with Stefan and his family. The resulting friendship is made stronger by the fact that Stefan had a sister who died; Carolina has come to replace this much beloved sibling. Through their friendship, Carolina teaches a hurt family to love again, and models for a wheel chair-bound friend the power of animals to heal the soul. When Stefan's family returns her love, Carolina is able to accept herself as she is and to recognize and value her love for her own family. Genre: Friendship/Animals 2000, Puffin Books, 138 pp., $5.99. Ages 9 up. Reviewer: MaryAnnelle Baker; Overland Park, Kansas
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Although she loves her caring but naive mother and baby sister, Carolina longs to live in a house like other sixth graders instead of on a school bus parked on the edge of a rich family's property. And in this contemporary fairy tale, Carolina gets her wish-for the brief while it takes her to realize how much she wants and needs her own family, however imperfect and impoverished they are. In her most successful story to date, Hobbs addresses a younger audience, creating engaging and memorable characters. Carolina rescues a baby crow that seems reluctant to fly even when it matures sufficiently. In turn, she is rescued from despair by Stefan, the wealthy family's only living child, whose mobility is limited by a wheelchair but whose interests span the natural world. Stefan's mother, a socialite who has kept her dead daughter's room and possessions in wait for just such a surrogate as Carolina, surprises readers, who expect her to try to mold and suffocate the living girl. It is this mother who knows emotional loss and physical comforts who helps Carolina return to live in the school bus, with her own mother, with dignity. Readers who have developed a taste for symbolism in their stories will enjoy this tale, while reluctant readers will find themselves quickly drawn in by Hobbs's strong characters and rapidly unfolding plot.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Christine Alfano
Hobbs gives herself ample opportunity to explore ideas in this novel, and throughout she asks readers to confront notions of what it means to be rich or poor, stable or uprooted, wild or caged. Carolina Crow Girl is an intriguing examination of the deeper meanings of freedom and love. It's also the remarkable story of two outsiders who find it possible, through friendship, to unlock the doors of their own cages.
Riverbank Review
Kirkus Reviews
Carolina's life is not a perfect one, but she's content. She, mother Melanie, and baby sister Trinity go from place to place in the old school bus that Melanie transformed into a home of sorts, with beds and a table and chairs-and no electricity or water, of course. They stop wherever there are opportunities for Melanie to find enough work to pay for food and other necessities; this time, they have taken up residence in a field above the ocean, where Carolina rescues an infant crow and it becomes her fast and only friend. She meets wheelchair-bound Stefan, whose father owns the field on which Carolina's family is squatting. She and Stefan hit it off, and he introduces her to his mother, who takes an understandable interest in her; her own daughter, Heather, died. When Melanie decides to move to Oregon, Carolina stays behind with Crow, living with Stefan's family. It's inevitable that Carolina will change her mind-Melanie is a loving mother and Stefan's mother has several issues to work out-but Hobbs (Get It While It's Hot. Or Not., 1996, etc.) handles the path of Carolina's reasoning well. It's an unusual story, with interesting characters and a strong plot, and it's fair to say that Crow steals the show, teaching Carolina how to accept change and to fly in spite of it. (Fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780141309767
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
927,736
Product dimensions:
5.03(w) x 7.72(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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