Pick-up Sticks

Overview


Thirteen-year-old Polly loves life — with her single-parent mom (a stained-glass artist), her quirky best friend Vanessa (who has a crush on their English teacher), and her endearing neighbor Ernie Protheroe (who collects postal codes and TV theme songs). But when the house they live in is sold, Polly’s perfect life seems to vanish overnight. Her mom doesn’t have much luck finding them an affordable place to live. And Polly is beginning to think that having a father — and a conventional lifestyle — wouldn’t be ...
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Overview


Thirteen-year-old Polly loves life — with her single-parent mom (a stained-glass artist), her quirky best friend Vanessa (who has a crush on their English teacher), and her endearing neighbor Ernie Protheroe (who collects postal codes and TV theme songs). But when the house they live in is sold, Polly’s perfect life seems to vanish overnight. Her mom doesn’t have much luck finding them an affordable place to live. And Polly is beginning to think that having a father — and a conventional lifestyle — wouldn’t be such a bad idea. As an interim solution, Polly goes to stay with her affluent relatives. But Uncle Roger turns out to be crass and chilly, his wife is self-indulgent, and their daughter, Polly’s teenage cousin, is on a shoplifting spree. With humor and compassion, Sarah Ellis portrays adolescent enlightenment, as Polly discovers that like the child’s game of pick-up sticks, each part of life touches every other and cannot be disturbed without affecting the whole.

Thirteen-year-old Polly's rebellion against her unmarried, fiercely independendent mother comes to a head when they must find a new apartment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When their apartment is sold, eighth grader Polly and her mother must relocate. The youngster is infuriated that her frequently addled mother has put off finding an apartment until so late. So Polly moves in with her wealthy aunt and uncle, who have every material advantage. The girl soon discovers, however, that her mother is her real family, despite her eccentricity and shaky financial situation. The Canadian setting--here, Toronto--lends an intriguing, slightly foreign air to this comfortable look at adolescent enlightenment. Ellis Next-Door Neighbors doesn't dazzle, but neither does she stumble as she covers Polly's problems. Her quiet, nonintrusive style is well suited to this slight story, in which she offers a welcome look at how a girl's healthy--albeit unusual--family configuration allows her to grow and figure out what's important for herself. Ages 12-up. Jan.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-- A short but satisfying novel about a girl's coming to terms with her unconventional mother. Polly is unsettled to learn that she and her single mother must move from the house they've lived in for all of her 13 years. Her concern mounts as her mother is unable to find an affordable apartment, and unwilling to accept a position managing a building that doesn't rent to nonwhites. In a panic, Polly accepts heraffluent uncle's invitation to move in with his family, only to find that while they are materially better off, their lives are lacking in the things that really matter. She discovers that as in the child's game of pick-up sticks, every element in life touches every other and cannot be disturbed without affecting the whole. Ellis has filled her story with a wealth of well-drawn characters, believable situations, and neatly balanced tension and humor, all against an economical but vividly painted backdrop. --Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria Public Library, B.C., Canada
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888991621
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Pages: 124
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.83 (w) x 7.26 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Ellis

Award-winning author Sarah Ellis grew up in a family that loved to share stories and read books. Passions that lead her to become a children's librarian and eventually to start writing books herself. Ellis's awards include the Governor General's Award, the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. She lives in Vancouver, B.C.

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