The Memory Bank

( 1 )


A new classic from Newbery and Printz Honor winning author Carolyn Coman.

THE MEMORY BANK is the story of Hope Scroggins, who lives with her beloved sister Honey and the Dursley-esque parents they share. In fact these parents are SO horribly awful that one day, when the sisters disobey the rule against "no laughing", they banish Honey forever, telling Hope that she must simply "forget" her.

Hope knows that she HAS to find her sister again, ...

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A new classic from Newbery and Printz Honor winning author Carolyn Coman.

THE MEMORY BANK is the story of Hope Scroggins, who lives with her beloved sister Honey and the Dursley-esque parents they share. In fact these parents are SO horribly awful that one day, when the sisters disobey the rule against "no laughing", they banish Honey forever, telling Hope that she must simply "forget" her.

Hope knows that she HAS to find her sister again, before her memories of Honey fade. But before she can even begin to look, she's whisked away to the World Wide Memory Bank, where her accounts are in disarray...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Coman and Shepperson (who previously collaborated on The Big House) alternate prose and pictures to tell the story of Hope and Honey Scroggins, daughters of unspeakably craven parents. As punishment for laughing, they abandon tiny Honey roadside. Readers won't worry about Honey; Shepperson's sequential full-page art shows her immediate rescue by a truckload of happy and mischievous kids. Hope, however, is relegated to sleeping in the garage, where she pines for Honey. But when Hope is collected by a muscular agent of the World Wide Memory Bank, a fantastical factory where memories are stored and dreams recorded, she is embraced by an entertaining cast of (mostly) loving characters. Hope is allowed to continue dreaming about a reunion with Honey; only Sterling Prion, the bank's head who fusses about impending war with the Clean Slate Gang (the rebel tots depicted in Shepperson's vibrant, sometimes menacing pencil drawings), interrupts Hope's reverie. It's not a seamless mesh of art and text—what Honey and crew are up to is a bit inscrutable for most of the story—but the sisters' tender relationship provides a rewarding unifying thread. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Patrice Russo Belotte
Hope Scroggins had never considered the value of her dreams or her memories ever before. In fact, she was never encouraged to value such things as dreams or memories in her life. When Mr. and Mrs. Scroggins decide on impulse to abandon Honey, Hope's little sister, they tell their remaining daughter to forget her sister entirely. The Scroggins reject anything that lingers a hint of Honey's essence and consider themselves the unlikely parents of an only child. Despite her parent's hasty and severe actions, Hope doesn't give up on finding Honey. She clings to her sister's memory, dreaming vividly in the deepest of sleeps of all their times together and the day they would reunite. However, her dreams are not enough. Hope is summoned to appear before the WWMB, or the World Wide Memory Bank, as her memory deposits have declined since the loss of her sister. Unsure of her fate, but feeling unloved and unwanted at home, she ventures out to discover the value of her memories and dreams. Hope's story is filled with creative dialogue in a world where both memories and dreams take a physical and tangible form. Kept in a magical bank with warm and eclectic characters, memories and dreams are catalogued, collected, and categorized. While the story follows Hope's determination to find her sister, the illustrations follow Honey's own escapades. Black-and-white sketches throughout the book highlight Honey and a cast of characters who seem to be creating mischief for the WWMB. The most dazzling of which, a thirteen page dream sequence, in which Hope envisions finding her sister in the midst of chaos and at the center of all memories and dreams. Reviewer: Patrice Russo Belotte
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—This combination of prose and pictures tells an unusual tale of dreams, memories, and separated sisters. After her awful parents abandon Hope's little sister, Honey, the older girl winds up at the "Memory Bank," where dreams and memories are catalogued and counted. A prolific dreamer herself, Hope is fascinated by the strange workings of the bank and hopes to find something there to reunite her with Honey. While details of the bank's workings are a bit confusing and not especially engaging, it becomes clear that the bureaucracy stifles freedom and creativity. Honey's story, told mostly through pictures, is more compelling as she joins a gang of joyful, mischievous children intent on bringing chaos to the repressive world of the Memory Bank. More than half of the book consists of full-page pen-and-ink and pencil drawings that propel the story as much as the text does. Each short section finishes with a dramatic sequence of illustrations depicting Hope's dreams and Honey's parallel adventures, most ranging from four to eight pages. Varied use of shading, line, and perspective makes each scene distinct as the plot progresses visually. As the parallel narratives begin to merge and the sibling reunion approaches, events become more involving. The novel ends with a dream shared by the two sisters, satisfyingly depicted through a 16-page series of illustrations. The format clearly recalls Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007) in its use of extensive illustrations, though in this case the story lacks the impact of the images.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews

Children's literature has a long history of cruel parents, but Hope Scroggins's are so heartless, they kick their tiny girl Honey out of the car for laughing... and never turn back. Hope is ordered to forget her sister, but she can't. Depressed, she starts sleeping day and night. Enter the World Wide Memory Bank (WWMB). Detecting an unusual imbalance in Hope's dreams (too many) and memories (too few new ones), the WWMB dispatches an agent, Obleratta, to pick her up in the dead of night. He drives her to headquarters, with its memory-harvesting bank and sumptuous, be-pillowed Dream Vault, and, for the first time in her life, Hope feels valued. The overall effect is uncannily Dahl-like, with vividly wrought settings involving elaborate, unlikely contraptions and larger-than-life characters. Energetic Quentin Blake–like pencil illustrations tell the tale of Hope's beloved Honey as she falls in with a rebel lot of lost children who threaten to overthrow the WWMB. Brilliantly crafted, thoroughly enjoyable and, though so very like Dahl, unique as a fascinating new way to ponder dreams and memories. (Fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545210669
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 680,063
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.46 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Coman was born in Evanston, Illinois, and graduated from Hampshire College, where she studied writing. She is the author of WHAT JAMIE SAW, a Newbery Honor book, and MANY STONES, a Michael L. Printz Honor book. Both books were also National Book Award Finalists. She lives in New Hampshire.

Rob Shepperson's drawings appear regularly in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and he illustrated THE BIG HOUSE, by Carolyn Coman. He lives in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Theresa L. Stowell for TeensReadToo

    Hope and Honey Scroggins have terrible parents. Their parents are so bad that it's no surprise to Hope when they leave tiny little Honey at the side of the road. "Just forget her" is the constant refrain from the adult members of the Scroggins family, who sell off Honey's belongings and take over their children's room. Hope is crushed and retreats into sleep to escape the heartbreak of her sister's loss. But sleeping all of the time means that Hope isn't building any real life memories, so the Memory Bank sends a notice to Hope telling her that she has a deficit in her memory deposits. Though she doesn't understand the letter, Hope cherishes her first letter and hides it under her cot in the garage before going back to sleep to dream about Honey. A short time later, Mr. Obleratta shows up to take her to the WWMB, the World Wide Memory Bank. Hope's adventure truly begins as she is placed on a conveyor belt and sent into the WWMD to justify why she is dreaming more than living. Within the WWMD, Hope meets all kinds of people and experiences positive adult relationships for the first time. This is an enchanting story of two little girls whose love for each other ties them together despite separation and different experiences. Coman's narrative about Hope's adventure is interspersed with Shepperson's series of delightful illustrations that tell Honey's story. THE MEMORY BANK is an enjoyable experience that would work great for young readers, for classrooms, or family discussions.

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