The Fortuneteller in 5B

Overview

One day a mysterious new neighbor moves into apartment 5B upstairs. Eleven-year-old Alexandria and her best friend Jenny suspect she might be a witch or a vampire. After all, she speaks with a Transylvania accent, brews up concoctions with strange herbs and has a heavy trunk covered with foreign labels. Alex learns that people who are strange or different aren't always to be feared. In fact, sometimes they can turn out to be friends.

The unexpected arrival of a ...

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Overview

One day a mysterious new neighbor moves into apartment 5B upstairs. Eleven-year-old Alexandria and her best friend Jenny suspect she might be a witch or a vampire. After all, she speaks with a Transylvania accent, brews up concoctions with strange herbs and has a heavy trunk covered with foreign labels. Alex learns that people who are strange or different aren't always to be feared. In fact, sometimes they can turn out to be friends.

The unexpected arrival of a flamboyant new neighbor teaches Alexandria that the loss of a loved one is a universal experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mysterious Madame Van Dam has taken up residence in the apartment above the one Alex shares with her mom. Alex can't imagine that she would have anything in common with this crystal ball-toting refugee from Rumania, but when her best friend Jenny convinces her to snoop in the Madame's trunk, Alex finds photos that reveal a painful similarity--both she and the Madame have lost someone very close to them. Lively, vivid characters and picturesque detail save this somewhat obvious, at times meandering story of deep loss and grief from sinking into sentimentality. The juxtaposition of Alex's grief (she recently lost her father to cancer) and Madame Van Dam's loss of her family to Nazi concentration camps helps young readers put the specter of death and the pain of recovery in perspective. Ages 9-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-- A warm story of two girls as they grow up and begin to find their place in the world. When an exotic new neighbor moves into her building, Alexandria, 11, and her best friend Jenny suspect the woman of having supernatural powers. Madame Van Dam bills herself as a spiritual advisor, owns a crystal ball, and has a pet rabbit. Despite the spooky looking cover, this is a novel about friendship, trust, and family relationships. Still grieving over the death of her father, Alexandria learns that life goes on--she gets her period, develops an interest in boys, and maintains her relationship with Jenny. When the elderly woman discovers the girls have gone through her belongings, she reveals that she is a survivor of a concentration camp for gypsies. Alexandria comes to realize that the pain she still feels is not unique. Madame Van Dam is a believable eccentric whose life has made her lonely but not bitter, while Alexandria's mother seems almost too good to be true. In spite of the girls' initial conviction that their neighbor has connections with other worlds and possesses magic powers, there's not a lot of excitement or suspense. --Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle Sch . , Greensboro, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595146574
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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