Nora and the Texas Terror

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
Cousin Ellie and her family move from Texas to Oregon to live with Nora's family when Uncle Chad loses his job and they cannot afford to keep their home. Quiet and neat Nora tries her best to adjust to life with her rambunctious cousin Ellie around. But adjusting is not so easy, especially when on top of sharing a bedroom at home, Ellie is placed in the same class as Nora and the two girls even have to share a desk until the school district locates an extra. A school project focusing on ancestry proves the impetus for learning some family history as well as how to compromise and live together. Cox does an admirable job of bringing a story about economic hard times down to kid-level by focusing on the tension that grows between Nora and her very different cousin Ellie. She relates family history in an appealing way too: Nora learns that her mother and Aunt Becca did not always get along so well growing up and that they were referred to as "sunshine and shadow," a phrase that relatives have adopted for her and Ellie. The situation—a windstorm, a missing little brother and a haunted house—that lead the girls to resolve their conflict with each other feels contrived and the explanation of why Nora's teacher insists that she and Ellie have the same name is unnecessarily drawn out. Overall, though, characters are engaging and this is a believable story about coping and dealing with differences during difficult financial times. The drawings are on the cartoonish side for the serious topic but perhaps this is intentional. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
School Library Journal
Gr 2–3—Third-grader Nora is both excited and apprehensive when her aunt, uncle, and two cousins come to live with them after her uncle loses his job. She thinks having her extended family could be like a big, fun picnic but sharing a room with her cousin Ellie could be a problem. She's right. The two girls are opposites, and Ellie is messy, plays mean pranks, whines about missing Texas, and constantly tells Nora how much better everything is there. The slight subplots of a haunted house and an ancestor project may not be enough to hold readers' interest, though this easy chapter book does pick up in the final quarter. Cartoon illustrations don't complement the story, which is more serious than humorous. This book would be most useful as bibliotherapy for children whose families are having financial difficulties.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA
Kirkus Reviews

Third graders Nora and Ellie are cousins, but they struggle to be friends. When Ellie's father loses his job, her family moves from Texas to Portland, Ore., upsetting Nora's predictable, calm life. Everyone struggles to adjust, but Nora and Ellie have the hardest time. Nora craves order while Ellie thrives on chaos. The girls have to share clothes, and Ellie is critical of the girly-girl clothes her cousin wears while Nora accuses Ellie of being a goth. When they end up in the same class, their teacher assigns a family-tree project that forces the girls into uncomfortable togetherness. Turns out they have more in common than they think, as they realize that they share a name and a relationship that is a lot like the one their mothers shared as children. Realistic situations coupled with modern economic problems make this a familiar story for today's young readers. Humorous black-and-white drawings pepper the story, deepening understanding. Fans of Johanna Hurwitz and Beverly Cleary will embrace these two modern cousins. (Fiction. 6-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823422838
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 87
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.54 (d)

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