The Moon Over High Street

Overview


The new novel by Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck Everlasting

Joe Casimir needed help with the choice he had to make. But how do you choose the person who will help you choose? Mr. Boulderwall, the millionaire, knew exactly what he wanted Joe to choose. And millionaires are experts at making choices. Well, aren't they? But Vinnie, the number-two man down at Sope Electric, didn't much approve of millionaires. He said to Joe, "Listen, kid, all of 'em act like they're the only ones...

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The Moon Over High Street

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Overview


The new novel by Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck Everlasting

Joe Casimir needed help with the choice he had to make. But how do you choose the person who will help you choose? Mr. Boulderwall, the millionaire, knew exactly what he wanted Joe to choose. And millionaires are experts at making choices. Well, aren't they? But Vinnie, the number-two man down at Sope Electric, didn't much approve of millionaires. He said to Joe, "Listen, kid, all of 'em act like they're the only ones with a ticket to the show!" But he didn't have any real advice to offer. Joe's Gran didn't either, as it turned out, and neither did Aunt Myra.

The good advice was there, though. Right across the street. Just waiting right across the street. There are a lot of good things just waiting. You'll see.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 12-year-old Joe Casimir’s grandmother breaks her hip, his summer starts with a bus trip to a distant relative. Joe doesn’t even know Aunt Myra, but he goes in order to please his grandmother, who raised him after his parents died. Once Joe arrives in Midville, Ohio, his outlook improves. Aunt Myra confides that she always hoped he might come to live with her, and Beatrice, a friendly (and pretty) girl Joe’s age, lives across the street. Most significantly, he has a chance encounter with Midville’s richest citizen—Anson Boulderwall, a Polish immigrant turned manufacturing millionaire. Boulderwall, 71, has no one to take over his lucrative factory, and he rashly settles on Joe as his heir apparent (based on little more than Joe’s Polish surname), writing Joe’s grandmother to announce his intentions to begin adoption proceedings. Joe’s feelings about this offer are conflicted, but he’s allowed to make his own choice. There are some lovely moments (especially Joe’s relationship with Aunt Myra), but the implausible plot line, a too neat resolution, and characters that are largely well-worn types don’t give readers enough to be invested in. Ages 10–14. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Tuck Everlasting is one of the best books ever written–for any age.”
Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Review
VOYA - Shana Morales
Have you ever dreamed of being adopted, perhaps by a millionaire businessman so you could live on the best street in town, get the best education, and have no worries? Well, believe it or not, such an opportunity presents itself to Joe Casimir in The Moon Over High Street. After his grandmother breaks her hip and needs time to recover, twelve-year-old Joe Casimir heads to Midville, Ohio, to visit with his adult cousin who he calls "Aunt" Myra. There, Joe meets many of the locals, including girl-across-the-street, Beatrice, and her dog, Rover. It is while out with Beatrice and Rover that Joe meets Mr. Boulderwall, the richest man in Midville. It is this chance meeting that leads to the events of this story. The Moon Over High Street is great for middle school readers, and with appeal to parents looking for their elementary children as well. It is also the perfect recommendation for teachers looking for a new story to share with their class. This story raises opportunities to discuss hopes and dreams, as well as being allowed to make important decisions when you are young. Perfect for those looking to add titles to the younger end of the YA collection, and certainly a worthy addition to any collection already featuring Natalie Babbitt's work. Reviewer: Shana Morales
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This book is absolutely delightful! For those of us who have only known Babbitt as the author of fantasy Tuck Everlasting, we now see that she is a master of literary fiction as well. Joe Casimir has always lived with his grandmother. They have a good life, they love each other without saying much about it, and in fact they never talk much about their feelings, or Joe's friends, or school (he is a very good student), or what he might want to do when he is grown. Then his grandmother breaks her hip. She will be in the hospital or in rehabilitation for months—so what to do with Joe? At first he stays with a neighbor, but she too is elderly, and doesn't really know what to do with him. But it turns out that he has another relative after all. His Aunt Myra—he didn't even know he had an Aunt Myra—is a teacher in Midville, six hours away. Within a few days he finds himself on a train, not worried, exactly, but a bit concerned about what his new life will be. He soon learns that it definitely won't be dull. His new neighbors are a family with parents, several children (including Beatrice, who is Joe's age), and a dog. There is no better way to learn about a new town than to go exploring with a dog. Most small towns have a High Street, where the richest people live, and Midville is no exception. The houses look enormous to Joe. They are set on large landscaped lots, and some even have swimming pools. Joe and Beatrice would be happy just to look around, but the dog has other ideas—he goes right to a swimming pool and jumps in, not noticing that an elderly man is sitting there, watching him. This is Mr. Boulderwall and when the children overcome their fear, introduce themselves, and apologize for the dog's behavior, he seems to be a rather nice old man. In fact he's fascinated by Joe's last name; he decides that Joe and he have something in common (a Polish background, although Joe knows nothing about his background) and that Joe is just the kind of young man he needs! He tells his wife to invite Joe and his aunt to lunch. His wife is sure that he is quite mad, but she is used to obeying him. When he tells his guests his plans for Joe's future as his heir they are also sure he is not quite sane. He wants to adopt the boy—he has already spoken to his lawyer—and if Joe will do exactly as he says, he will become a rich businessman. It is tempting—and it is entirely Joe's choice. What does he want to do with his life? What would you choose? What would I choose? Highly recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
Kirkus Reviews
Babbitt's gentle tale presents 12-year-old Joe, who is faced with a decision that could completely change the course of his life. Orphaned shortly after his birth, Joe, who loves the moon, has been raised by his Gran, but after she breaks a hip, he's sent to spend some of the summer with his father's cousin, Aunt Myra, an unmarried teacher who's always dreamed of raising the boy. In nearly idyllic Midville, he meets the lovely Beatrice, who is not only just his age but also a soul mate. But he inadvertently comes to the attention of the very wealthy factory owner Mr. Boulderwall—aptly, humorously named—who decides that he will adopt Joe and raise him to take over his company, a decision offering the potential of enormous wealth for the boy, but little else. Characters share an otherworldly simplicity of focus and concern that changes this effort from a realistic tale to a cautionary fable about the true impact of choices. The plot quietly meanders toward a conclusion that's never in doubt, but readers will still celebrate Gran's showdown with the clueless businessman. While set in the mid-1960s, there's little to strongly place it in that period. A congenial, cheerful tale with an important message; Babbitt may reach a new generation of readers with this satisfying work. (Fiction. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Joe Casimir's parents died when he was only a few months old, and he has been raised by his paternal grandmother. The summer he is 12, Gran breaks her hip days before they are scheduled to visit their cousin in Ohio, so Joe is sent off alone. Once in Midville, he blooms under the comfortable companionship of Myra, her old friend Vinnie, and Beatrice, the quintessential girl next door. Then the richest man in town, Ansom Boulderwald, takes an interest in him as a possible heir to his business. Playing off Joe's fascination with meteors, Babbitt elegantly weaves the metaphor of a meteor about to come crashing into the boy's world to describe Boulderwald's proposal to adopt him and control his future. While set in the '60s, the story has a timeless quality to it, and segments of the writing soar with vivid figurative language. Boulderwald is not portrayed as totally evil, but his power and wealth, plus his wife's ruthless upwardly mobile striving, are viewed as empty goals, while Gran's and Myra's more humble views on the importance of family, friends, and following your heart win out. Joe is a hesitant, reserved kid who only allows himself to open up when he is comfortable with certain people. As a result, readers may have to work to understand his motivations. Nonetheless, there is an endearing quality in shy, reticent Joe and his small, but fiercely loving family, and much to ponder thematically here. Ultimately it will take that special discerning child to appreciate this thoughtful yet quirky novel.—Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545376365
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 467,329
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author


Natalie Babbitt is the author/illustrator of fifteen books for children, among them Tuck Everlasting, The Search for Delicious, and Kneeknock Rise, a Newbery Honor Book. Five of her books have been named ALA Notable Children's Books. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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