The Great Eye by Phyllis Shalant, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Great Eye

The Great Eye

by Phyllis Shalant
     
 

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It's the summer before eighth grade, and Lucy feels lost. Her sister, home from college, has time only for her new boy-friend, and their father is half a world away in Australia. Lucy pours her feelings into the poetry she writes on her computer, "The Great Eye." Then she agrees to train a guide dog -- and it transforms her summer and her self. "Truly

Overview

It's the summer before eighth grade, and Lucy feels lost. Her sister, home from college, has time only for her new boy-friend, and their father is half a world away in Australia. Lucy pours her feelings into the poetry she writes on her computer, "The Great Eye." Then she agrees to train a guide dog -- and it transforms her summer and her self. "Truly involving...Lucy's story is touching, and not without hints of complexity." -- Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With her sister back from college with a new boyfriend and her mom and dad separated, a disheartened Lucy thinks has only two supports she can count on-her friend Calvin and her computer, which she calls The Great Eye and which she uses to compose her poetry. Then she gets a chance to raise a puppy for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Shalant (Beware of Kissing Lizard Lips) contributes keenly observed scenes about Lucy's developing relationship with the labrador retriever, Hobart; later, Lucy's attempts to get the timid dog to crawl through a dark tunnel so he can pass the guide dog test parallel her own struggle to get through the dark place in her life. Not quite 13, Lucy can intellectualize her problems in her poems: "I'm afraid there's no cure for what this house has got/ Termites? I asked. Dry rot?/ Memories, he told me straight out/ Spread to every floorboard sill and rail." Her behavior, however, is much less controlled: she is so furious at her father that when he sends her letters, she tears them up in little pieces and swallows them. On the other hand, readers who don't already share Lucy's interest in poetry may find the frequent examples of her writing and her references to Emily Dickinson off-putting, despite Shalant's insightful characterizations and sturdy plot. Ages 11-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Lucy Rising has always wanted a dog, and during the summer after seventh grade, she has the chance to raise a year-old black Labrador to become a guide dog for the blind. This seems a good project, as her sister Anna is home from college with a too-attentive new boyfriend, her mother is busy being a day-camp counselor, and her father has left the family and gone to Australia. So the arrival of Hobart promises to bring welcome companionship, and Lucy is rather disappointed when the canine turns out to be fearful and lacking in self-confidence. With the help of her best friend, she drills Hobart in the risk-taking exercises from the guide-dog training class, mirroring the risk-taking she also faces in adjusting to new realities in her family. Throughout the novel, she reflects on her life by writing free verse of an unusually wise and perceptive nature on the computer (The Great Eye) that her father left her. Her poetry allows her to express ambivalence about the animal's failure to qualify as a guide dog, as well as the news that her father is returning to seek a divorce. There are no surprises here, and none of the characters is particularly memorable. It is the quality of the poetry and the deft integration of the guide-dog training regimen that are the highlights of this quiet story of a family coping with change.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Kirkus Reviews
Lucy Rising, budding poet, is having a tough summer before eighth grade. Her father has left the family and gone to Australia; her beloved older sister, Anna, is home from college, but with a boyfriend in tow; and the dog that Lucy agreed to raise to be a guide dog, Hobart, lacks the courage needed for his demanding role. Helping Lucy through her struggles is friend Calvin, who is willing to see her through anything, and the Great Eye, her computer, on which she turns her deepest emotions into poetry. What could have been a fairly typical story of an adolescent coming to terms with divorce is redeemed by three elements: Lucy's easy, solid friendship with the empathetic Calvin; the guide dog subplot, which is truly involving; and the authentic poetry Shalant (Beware of Kissing Lizard Lips, 1995, etc.) bestows on Lucy—firmly within the credibility range for an eighth grader, laced with the potential of a true writer. Lucy's story is touching, and not without hints of complexity.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780141300726
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/1998
Series:
Puffin Novel Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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