The Higher Power of Lucky (Lucky Trimble Series #1)

The Higher Power of Lucky (Lucky Trimble Series #1)


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It s been two years since Lucky Trimble s mother died from accidental electrocution after a bad desert storm. Since then Lucky has made the best of things living in a series of interconnected trailers with her French guardian Brigitte. Even though Lucky who aspires to be a scientist like Charles Darwin (her dog is named HMS Beagle) tries hard to order her life like the insect specimens she collects she s always a little worried. What if Brigitte --- her absent father s first wife who planned to come to California just long enough to put Lucky in foster care --- ends up returning to her beloved France leaving Lucky behind?

Maybe the answer to Lucky s problems lies with the mysterious Higher Power she often overhears members of various 12-step programs talking about. But what is Lucky s Higher Power? And where can she go to find it after she reaches rock bottom when she discovers Brigitte s passport on top of her suitcase ready for a return to France?

As Lucky works to find her Higher Power and finally recover from her mother s death she interacts with many of her neighbors in tiny Hard Pan California which has 43 residents and only three paying jobs. Her eccentric friends include recovering alcoholic Short Sammy knot expert (and future president) Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy and little Miles who is desperate for attention and obsessed with the book Are You My Mother?

Hard Pan may be a bit isolated and more than a little impoverished (all its inhabitants rely on monthly government surplus rations). What does this little town have to offer Brigitte who is used to first-class restaurants museums and really good cheese? Maybe if Lucky runs away Brigitte will finally find a reason to stay in Hard Pan.

--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416975571
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 12/30/2008
Series: Lucky Trimble Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 180,435
Product dimensions: 7.64(w) x 5.08(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 11 Years

About the Author

Susan Patron specialized in Children's Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year her novel The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. As the library's Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager, she trained and mentored children's librarians in 72 branches. Patron has served on many book award committees, including the Caldecott and Laura Ingalls Wilder Committees of the American Library Association. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Patron's previous books for children include the Billy Que trilogy of picture books; Dark Cloud Strong Breeze; and a chapter book, Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe. All earned starred reviews, and the latter was named an ALA Notable book. The Higher Power of Luck will be translated into twelve foreign languages and has been optioned for a motion picture. Married to a rare book restorer from the Champagne region of France, Susan is working on the final book in the "Lucky" trilogy.

Matt Phelan's black-and-white illustrations first appeared in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney. His picture books include The New Girl...and Me and Two of a Kind, both written by Jacqui Robbins. Matt lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt



Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the Dumpster. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of Hard Pan's Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, she listened as Short Sammy told the story of how he hit rock bottom. How he quit drinking and found his Higher Power. Short Sammy's story, of all the rock-bottom stories Lucky had heard at twelve-step anonymous meetings — alcoholics, gamblers, smokers, and overeaters — was still her favorite.

Sammy told of the day when he had drunk half a gallon of rum listening to Johnny Cash all morning in his parked '62 Cadillac, then fallen out of the car when he saw a rattlesnake on the passenger seat biting his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

Lucky balanced herself with a hand above the little hole that Short Sammy's voice was coming out of. With her other hand, she lifted the way-too-curly hair off her neck. She noticed two small black birds nearby, panting like dogs from the heat, their beaks open, their feathers puffed up. She put her ear to the hole because Sammy's voice always got low and soft when he came to the tragical end of the story.

But Short Sammy didn't head right to the good part. To stretch it out and get more suspense going for the big ending, he veered off and told about the old days when he was broke and couldn't afford to buy rum, so he made homemade liquor from cereal box raisins and any kind of fruit he could scrounge up. This was the usual roundabout way he talked, and Lucky had noticed that it made people stay interested, even if the story got quite a bit longer than if someone else had been telling it.

She stood up, her neck and the backs of her knees sweating, and mashed wads of hair up under the edges of her floppy hat. She carefully angled an old lawn chair with frayed webbing into her wedge of shade, and made sure the chair wouldn't break by easing herself onto it. Flies came, the little biting ones; she fanned them away with her plastic dustpan. Heat blasted off the Dumpster.

There was a little silence, except for the wobbly ticking noise of the ceiling fan inside and people shifting in their folding metal chairs. She was pretty sure they had already heard the story of Short Sammy hitting rock bottom before, as she had, and that they loved the pure glory and splendiferousness of it as much as she did — even though it was hard to imagine Short Sammy being drunk. Short Sammy's voice sounded like it could barely stand to say what came next.

"That Roy, man," said Sammy, who called everyone "man," even people like Lucky who were not men. "He was one brave dog. He killed that snake even though it bit him in the place where it hurts the worst for a male. And there I am, trying to get away, falling out of the Cad. I break a tooth, I cut my cheek, I give myself a black eye, I even sprain my ankle, but I'm so drunk, man, I don't even know I'm messed up — not till much later. Then I pass out.

"Next day I wake up on the ground, sand in my mouth, and it feels like death. I mean, it's like I died, man, but at the same time, like I'm too sick and ashamed to be dead. There's a mangled rattlesnake under the car, there's blood, lots of blood — I don't even know if it's my blood or Roy's or the snake's. Roy's gone. I call him — nothing. I figure maybe after saving my stupid life he went off to die alone somewhere. It's probably like a hundred degrees in the shade, man, about as hot as it is now, but I'm so cold I can't stop shivering."

Lucky's hands smelled metallic, like the thin arms of the lawn chair; they felt sticky. She pushed her hat back from her forehead; air cooled the sweat there.

"I make this deal with myself," Sammy continued. "The deal is if Roy is okay I'll quit drinking, join AA, get clean."

Lucky edged her bare leg away from a rough, poking strand of chair webbing. Each time Short Sammy came to this part in his story, Lucky thought of what kind of deal she would make with herself if she hit rock bottom. Like, let's say she didn't know if her dog, HMS Beagle, was alive or dead; she would have to do something really hard and drastic as her end of the bargain. Or, let's say that her Guardian just gave up and quit because Lucky did something terrible. The difference between a Guardian and an actual mom is that a mom can't resign. A mom has the job for life. But a Guardian like Brigitte could probably just say, "Well, that's about it for this job. I'm going back to France now. Au revoir." There poor Lucky would be, standing alone in the kitchen trailer, at rock bottom. Then she would have to search for her own Higher Power and do a fearless and searching moral inventory of herself, just like Short Sammy and all the other anonymous people had had to do.

Short Sammy went on, "Then my wife drives up. Man, I didn't even know she'd gone. I'm still kind of laying there on the ground. She gets out of her car, but she doesn't say one word about how messed up I am.

"All she says is, 'I took Roy to the vet's in Sierra City.' She's talking real calm, almost like she's not mad or anything. She says, 'Fifty miles from here, and I drove it in, like, maybe half an hour. That was the worst drive of my life, Sammy, thanks to you. But Roy's okay because I got him there in time for the antivenom to work.'

"Then she goes into the house and comes out with her suitcases that she must have packed the night before, and Roy's food dish and water bowl. That killed me, her taking his food dish and water bowl. All she says to me is, 'Don't call me.' That, man, was rock bottom. So I threw down the shovel. And here I am."

There was clapping, and Lucky knew that pretty soon they would pass a hat around for people to put money in. It was a little disappointing that today nobody had explained how exactly they had found their Higher Power, which was what Lucky was mainly interested in finding out about.

She didn't get why finding it was so hard. The anonymous people often talked about getting control of their lives through their Higher Power. Being ten and a half, Lucky felt like she had no control over her life — partly because she wasn't grown up yet — but that if she found her Higher Power it would guide her in the right direction.

Chairs scraped as everyone stood up. Now they would all say a little prayer together, which Lucky liked because there was no church or synagogue or anything in Hard Pan, California, so the Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center was the closest they got to one. That meant the end of the meeting and time for her to disappear quick. She'd finished her job of clearing trash from the patio in front — smashed beer cans and candy wrappers from yesterday's Gamblers Anonymous meeting. It wasn't likely that anyone would be coming back to the Dumpster behind the museum, but someone might. She had to hurry, but she had to hurry slowly, in order not to make a sound.

She stashed her dustpan and rake beside the wall and left the aluminum lawn chair hidden behind the Dumpster. Tomorrow, Saturday, would be her day off. Then on Sunday afternoon, before the Smokers Anonymous meeting, she would again clean up the museum's little patio. The patio was where the anonymous people sat around talking after their meetings. All the anonymous people left lots of litter, and each group could not bear to see the butts or the cans or the candy wrappers of the group that met before it. The reason was that they were in recovery. The recovering alcoholics hated to see or smell beer cans left by the recovering smokers and gamblers; the recovering smokers could not stand cigarette butts left by the recovering drinkers, and the recovering overeaters hated to see candy wrappers left by the recovering drinkers, smokers, and gamblers.Which meant that Lucky had a job — a great job — and except for Dot's kitchen-and-back-porch Baubles 'n' Beauty Salon and the Captain's mail-sorting job at the post office, it was the only paying job in town.

Wrestling with the straps of her survival kit backpack, which she had with her at all times, then jogging down the dry streambed toward home, Lucky thought of a question that Short Sammy's story had lodged into one of her brain crevices. She figured she had so many crevices and wrinkles, almost all of them filled with questions and anxious thoughts, that if you were to take her brain and flatten it out, it would cover a huge space, like maybe a king-size bed.

The question of Short Sammy's dog's scrotum settled into one certain brain crevice as she picked her way among the weedy bushes of the dry wash. Even though Lucky could ask Short Sammy almost anything and he wouldn't mind, she could never ask about the story of Roy, since she had overheard it. If she asked about Roy, then he would know that she'd been eavesdropping at the anonymous twelve-step meetings.

Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much. It sounded medical and secret, but also important, and Lucky was glad she was a girl and would never have such an aspect as a scrotum to her own body. Deep inside she thought she would be interested in seeing an actual scrotum. But at the same time — and this is where Lucky's brain was very complicated — she definitely did not want to see one.

A little breeze had come up by the time she got home to the half circle of trailers. First was her little shiny aluminum canned-ham trailer, where she and HMS Beagle slept. Next, the long kitchen-dining room-bathroom trailer, and last, Brigitte's Westcraft bedroom trailer. Instead of having wheels and being hooked up to cars to tow them around, the three trailers were mounted on concrete blocks; plus they were anchored to the ground with metal cables to keep from being blown over in windstorms. The best part was that you could walk from Lucky's canned ham to Brigitte's Westcraft without ever going outside, because passageways had been cut where the trailers' ends touched, and sheets of metal had been shaped and soldered together to join all three trailers, so not even a mouse would be able to find a crack or an opening anywhere.

HMS Beagle bounded out from under the kitchen trailer to smell her and find out where she had been. "HMS" stands for "His Majesty's Ship," and the actual original HMS Beagle was a beautiful ship that took the scientist Charles Darwin all around the world on exciting discoveries. Lucky's dog — who was neither a ship nor a beagle — got her name because of always being with Lucky on her scientific adventures. Also, HMS Beagle was beautiful, with very short brown fur, little dog-eyebrows that moved when she was thinking, and big ear flaps that you could see the veins inside of if you held them up to the light.

A breeze rattled the found object wind chimes at the Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, and the high desert air carried that sound in front of it, all the way across town, down to the three trailers at the very end of Hard Pan. Just the sound of those chimes made Lucky feel cooler. But she still had doubts and anxious questions in all the crevices of her brain, especially about how to find her Higher Power.

If she could only find it, Lucky was pretty sure she'd be able to figure out the difference between the things she could change and the things she couldn't, like in the little prayer of the anonymous people. Because sometimes Lucky wanted to change everything, all the bad things that had happened, and sometimes she wanted everything to stay the same forever.

Text copyright © 2006 by Susan Patron

Illustrations copyright © 2006 by Matt Phelan

Reading Group Guide

Susan Patron's Hard Pan Trilogy:

A Teacher's Guide to

The Higher Power of Lucky
Lucky Breaks
Lucky for Good


Lucky Trimble is ten years old in The Higher Power of Lucky, and the only thing wrong with her life in Hard Pan, California (population 43), is that she doesn’t have an actual mother. When she becomes convinced that Brigitte, her guardian, is planning to return to France, she packs a survival kit and runs away. Her plans go awry, and two friends, the entire town, and one almost actual mother help her discover what she has been searching for all along—her personal higher power. In Lucky Breaks, Lucky discovers that at age eleven she needs a friend who’s a girl. She meets Paloma Wellborne, who comes to Hard Pan with her uncle to do geological research. The girls hit it off, but it is up to Brigitte to convince Mrs. Wellborne that Hard Pan is a safe environment for her daughter. Old and new friendships are tested and celebrated as the girls embark on an adventure that turns dangerous and causes them to think about the meaning of trust and responsibility. Lucky is a little older and wiser in Lucky for Good, the final book in the trilogy. She now has a mother to answer some of her questions, but there are just so many questions. Does her father really hate her? Is she really going to hell for being interested in Charles Darwin? Will the health department ruin everything for Brigitte’s Hard Pan Café? Some of her questions have easy answers, and some have no answers at all. But, as always, Lucky knows how to chart her own course.


When The Higher Power of Lucky won the Newbery Medal, newspapers and talk radio shows across the nation raised questions about the book because Lucky, the main character, hears Short Sammy say that his dog was bitten on the “scrotum” by a rattlesnake. Ask readers to discuss why it is wrong to take words out of context. How does this promote censorship? Ask them to discuss why some adults don’t think it’s appropriate for children to read about parts of the anatomy. Debate whether censoring a book because of one word is an insult to the intelligence of a reader.


Lucky, Lincoln, and Miles are the only kids in Hard Pan. Describe their relationship. Miles is especially annoying to Lucky. Debate whether it’s his age, his personality, or the echo of him in her own longing for a mom that sometimes irritates her. Discuss the circumstances that change the relationship of the three kids as they grow a little older in Lucky Breaks and Lucky for Good.

In The Higher Power of Lucky, Lucky eavesdrops at the anonymous 12-step meetings at the museum and learns that each person is in search of a Higher Power. Discuss why Lucky is so anxious to find her Higher Power. The 12-step people tell about rock-bottom moments before finding their Higher Power. What is Lucky’s rock- bottom moment? Explain why the “getting in control of your life” step is especially difficult for Lucky. At what point in the novel does Lucky discover her Higher Power? How does discovering it set her life on a different course?

Lucky’s father asked Brigitte to take care of Lucky until she could be placed in a foster home. Brigitte says that she would want a foster home that would give Lucky a little freedom but some discipline as well. Discuss whether Brigitte offers this type of home environment for Lucky. Brigitte is a “beginning mom” in The Higher Power of Lucky. Describe Brigitte’s mom skills by the end of Lucky for Good.

At the end of The Higher Power of Lucky, Lucky asks Brigitte, “What is a scrotum?”

Discuss the symbolism in her question. What is symbolic about Lucky plugging up the knothole in the fence of the museum?

The three kids in Hard Pan are free to roam their desert town. How does freedom require responsibility? Discuss moments in all three novels when Lucky takes her freedom a little too far. How is learning to be responsible part of growing up? In Lucky Breaks, Lucky wants to be intrepid. How does she confuse acting intrepid with acting responsible? Discuss moments in the novels when Lucky is responsible. What is her most intrepid moment?

Abandonment is a central theme in all three novels. In The Higher Power of Lucky, Lucky is dealing with the death of her mother and with a father who doesn’t want her. Debate whether Brigitte’s decision to adopt her changes Lucky’s feelings of abandonment. Miles’s mother is in jail. Why does he think his situation is better than Lucky’s?

Explain the following metaphor in Lucky Breaks: “She felt unseen, a lamp with its cord unplugged from the socket.” Why does Lucky feel misunderstood? What doesn’t she understand about herself? What more does she need and want? Debate whether she is searching for a more typical or ordinary life. At what point in Lucky for Good does Lucky finally feel that her “cord is plugged into the socket”?

In Lucky for Good, Lucky elects to research her family tree as punishment for fighting Ollie Martin. Why is the school principal worried about Lucky taking on this particular assignment? How does the assignment help Lucky discover her family? Why did her father want her to have his books upon his death? Debate whether Lucky can now deal with the feelings of abandonment that have plagued her for so long.

Lucky and Lincoln have been best friends forever. Now that Lucky is growing up, she really wants a girl friend. Describe the friendship that develops between Lucky and Paloma in Lucky Breaks. Discuss the term “polar opposites.” How are Lucky and Paloma polar opposites? What is it that intrigues Paloma the most about Lucky’s life in Hard Pan?

In Lucky Breaks, Paloma’s mother isn’t sure about letting her daughter spend the weekend in Hard Pan. Discuss Brigitte’s conversation with Mrs. Wellborne about trust. Discuss the good and bad choices that Lucky and Paloma make. What do they learn from their mistakes? What does Mrs. Wellborne discover about Hard Pan?

At first, Lucky thinks that she has to give up her friendship with Lincoln in order to have Paloma as a friend. What does Paloma help her realize about Lincoln? How does Lucky and Lincoln’s relationship deepen by the end of Lucky for Good?

In Lucky for Good, the three kids from Hard Pan encounter Ollie Martin, a bully from Einstein Jr. High School. How are they unprepared for dealing with a bully? What is wrong in Ollie’s life that causes him to be a bully? Discuss how he is eventually pulled into the circle of friends in Hard Pan.

Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy is named for four US Presidents. Based on his name, to which political party do you think his parents belong? Lucky thinks that Lincoln sounds and acts like a future president—grave, serious, and diplomatic. Discuss moments in each book when Lincoln displays each of these characteristics.

The Inyo County Health Department of the State of California wants to shut down Brigitte’s Hard Pan Café because the kitchen is in a residence. How does the entire town engage in a solution to the problem?

Justine, Miles’s mom, returns from prison a changed woman. How does her newly discovered religion confuse Miles? Debate whether she was part of a 12-step program in prison. Mrs. Prender and Justine argue about religion. Debate how Miles might view religion as he becomes an adult.

Justine thinks that Lucky is a “sinner” for studying Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. And, she won’t allow Miles to read the dinosaur books that he has always enjoyed. Why is Justine so afraid of what Miles is reading? Mrs. Prender reminds Justine that Miles is considered a gifted child. Discuss whether Justine is frightened by Miles’s intelligence. How is censorship a form of mind control? Explain what Lucky means when she advises Miles to keep thinking with his “own brain.” How is “thinking with your own brain” a healthy way of dealing with the world around you?

Discuss how Susan Patron uses humor in characters and plot to reveal serious and profound themes.

At the end of Lucky for Good, Lucky realizes that there is always someone in Hard Pan who needs rescuing. She knows that she will sometimes be that person, and sometimes she will be the person that comes to the rescue. Trace Lucky’s journey from needing to be rescued in The Higher Power of Lucky to her role as rescuer in Lucky for Good.


Write a two-line character sketch of the following characters: Lucky, Lincoln, Miles, Brigitte, Short Sammy, Ollie, Paloma, Mrs. Prender, and Justine.

Brigitte becomes a naturalized citizen. Find out the steps one must take to become a naturalized citizen. Then have a citizenship ceremony for Brigitte.

Ask students to collect interesting objects in their home or on a walk in their neighborhood. Then have them make a wind chime that might be displayed in Hard Pan’s Found Object Wind Chime Museum. Students may wish to vote on the most unusual wind chime.

Lincoln is going to England to the International Knot-Tying Guild. Visit the following website and find out what Lincoln needs as a minor applying for a passport for the first time.:

Almost everyone in Hard Pan qualifies for government surplus commodities. Yellow cheese is one of the commodities delivered in abundance. Short Sammy is especially creative in developing recipes using the commodities. Ask each student to create a cheese recipe that Short Sammy might serve the people of Hard Pan that visit him in his water tower house.

Divide students into small groups and ask them to create a YouTube video advertising Brigitte’s Hard Pan Café. Instruct them to use any two characters from the books as stars of their video.

Guide prepared by Pat Scales, children's literature consultant, free speech advocate, and retired school librarian.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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The Higher Power of Lucky 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
SBC4 More than 1 year ago
Summary: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron is about a little girl named Lucky. She lives in a small town with her Guardian who is from France named Brigitte. After Lucky's mom died, her father called Brigitte to come to America and take care of her. It has been two years since that happened and now Lucky feels that Brigitte will return to France and abandon her. Readers Response: I feel that The Higher Power of Lucky is a great book for children to read. It has a lot to do with death and acceptance. I would probably not have them read this book in the classroom because it does talk about death and some parents might have objections. Also it talks about drug use and alcoholism and again parents might have some objections to this. However I would recommend that they read it on their own time. The book is very entertaining and it has a good message that jumping to conclusions can lead to even bigger problems. Also this book deals with Brigitte, who is French, having to learn the American customs. She eventually learns our customs but wants Lucky to learn some French or learn some of her customs. At the end of the book Brigitte has her wish come true because she opens up her own restaurant. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book and I recommend that everyone should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It needs 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 Stars
megan_wv More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been lost? Well, Lucky has. This story, is about a girl named Lucky, who's mom died from electrocution. Lucky's dad didn't want her so he called up his first wife, Brigette, and told her to watch Lucky. Lucky lives in Hard Pan, California, in a trailer with Brigette. In this book, since Lucky doesn't have a mom, Brigette has to be like a guardian or mom to Lucky. Lucky is trying to find out who has her moms ashes and she finds out that her dad has her ashes. Lucky also got the feeling that Brigette wanted to go back to France. Lucky runs away and ends up in a wind storm. Lucky stays in the cave and everyone looks for her. Everyone was happy when they found her. When Lucky got back to the trailer, Brigette told Lucky that she was going to adopt Lucky. She was very excited. I liked and disliked some parts of this book. In some parts, it was boring and in some it was a good chapter. This book was a good book and I would recommend it for someone who likes to read.
Twilght4Eva More than 1 year ago
Well, maybe that's a little harsh. I don't actually think that the author is an untalented writer, I just think that this is the worst book ever written. My aunt teaches 7th and 8th grade English, and since I too am a middle schooler, she often presents me with books to read and review for her. Some have included "Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life", "The Dark is Rising", "Elijah of Buxton", "Kira-Kira", and "The Wednesday Wars", all of which I had greatly enjoyed reading. I was slightly wary when she gave me this book, but only because how short and thin it was. The cover illustration was interesting and the title was different from others that I have read. After finishing it that night, however, I was horrified. What children's book was THIS?! I agree with other reviewers; some topics brought up in this were completely inapproriate for kids. I mean, really. Show some judgement. A mother getting killed by lightning? A 10 year old girl, unwanted by her father, who keeps her mom's cremated remains in a special jar? Alcoholics and drug addicts? SCROTUM?!?!?!?! Even the cover seemed ridiculous now, a little girl in her guardian's dress, throwing cremated body parts into the wind. The plot was shallow and...well, stupid. Lucky(what an awful name, by the way) decides to run away in the middle of a dust storm, since she thinks her guardian is going off to France without her. Frankly, I don't blame Brigette. The characters were completely unlikable: Lucky- a brat who needs desperatly to grow a brain and stop spreading dead insects on the kitchen table. Miles- an even bigger brat who I hate beyond anyone on Earth. Lincoln- not that annoying, actually, but he likes Lucky, so he's probably not very smart. All the other inhabitants of Hard Pan- idiots. Who would live in a town with a population of 43? Anything else I need to add? Oh yeah. How does a bug fly in someone's ear and then into their BRAIN?! I read this 8 months ago, in the summer before 6th grade. Therefore, I fit the recommended age group. Don't waste your time, fellow tween people, and read something good like Twilight or a classic like Wuthering Heights. HOW DID THIS WIN THE NEWBERRY AWARD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, winner of the Newbery Medal, has been causing quite a stir. Why? I honestly don't know why. The story is sensitive, heartwarming, and meaningful.

Lucky's mother met an unfortunate end when she stepped out of their desert trailer home after a storm and touched a downed electrical wire. She was electrocuted and now Lucky lives with her guardian. Brigitte, a friend of her mother and the first wife of Lucky's father, came from France to take care of Lucky. Recent events have Lucky feeling suspicious. She seems to think Brigitte may be getting ready to return to France, leaving her behind in an L.A. orphanage.

There is not much to do in the desert town of Hard Pan -- population 43. Lucky spends quite a bit of her time outside the local meeting place for what she calls the "anonymous" groups. She hears the down-and-out stories of members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Smokers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and more. Lucky hears about how these folks have hit "rock bottom" and then gone on to find their "higher power." Maybe if Lucky can find this higher power, Brigitte will see that it is necessary for her to stay in Hard Pan and take care of her.

Filled with colorful characters, innocent interpretations of the world, and unique surroundings, THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY takes the reader into the world of a brave little girl whose life experiences could challenge even a well-adjusted adult. Through Lucky's eyes readers will come to appreciate the wonders of the desert and the fascinating and quirky behavior of the people who touch her life.

I was reminded of the previously successful BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo when I read this book. Both deal with girls who are thrust into situations we wouldn't really want to see our own children in, but with courage and determination the girls survive and even thrive as they make their way in the world. Please read Susan Patron's book and judge it for yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book i have ever read! I thought that I wouldn't like this book, but oh my goodness! Yoi have to read this book!!!! =]
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was assigned to read The Higher Power of Lucky for a Children's Literature class at the college I'm attending. When I first started this book I was not intrigued at all and found it unusual. Lucky is a ten year old girl searching for understanding and her so called 'higher power'. The beginning of the book introduces you to Lucky eavesdropping on an alcoholics anonymous meeting. One guy by the name of Short Sammy is sharing his storing when he hit rock bottom and how he found his higher power. Lucky then goes on a journey to find her higher power. Lucky doesn't have the normal life of a ten-year-old girl. Her mother died when she was eight and since her father didn't like children he abandoned Lucky and left her with Brigitte, a woman from France whom Lucky's father was once married to. Through out the book Lucky convinces herself that Brigitte doesn't love her and that she's going to abandon her, just like her father did, and go back to France. By the end of the story everything seems to come together and Lucky finds that life isn't as horrible as it seems. This book seems to be intended for those between the ages of 10-15 but I would recommend it for adults as well. It's a touching storing and by the end you're overwhelmed with joy and relief for Lucky. Some might find it inappropriate but if you look into the deeper meaning of the story you realize the author means well. I thought it was a wonderful book and believe it could have a real impact on some children's lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would be a somewhat "deep" book but it was pretty nine year oldish. Dissapointed but it was well written. Reccomend to nine year olds :) -A
makayla_h_wv More than 1 year ago
The title of this book is The Higher Power of Lucky. The author is Susan Patron. This book contains 134 pages. It has 23 chapters. It is a good book to read if you are around 7 or 9.Although there are some inappropriate parts. Such as a mothers death or a few disturbing words. This book is about a girl named Lucky. Her mother died when she was eight years old. Her father left her with his first wife named Bridget from France. Lucky is trying to find her higher power throughout the book.This book is a little inappropriate for kids. If you child is disturbed easily then you might not want them to read this book. If you are an adult, this book may be a little boring and childish. My conclusion is that this book is overall not a great book. Its sequence is unreliable. It is not an appropriate for some children. It is not an adult book. It is too confusing to understand.I did not really like this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Higher Power of Lucky is about a little girl 'Lucky' whose mother died when she was very young and her father abandonded her. She lives in a town of 43 people. Her legal guardian is a French women who happens to be her fathers first wife. Lucky thinks that Brigette 'her legal guardian' is going to leave her and go back to France. The book is all about her trying to find her higher power. I would recommend to middle school students. I do not think this book is appropriate for elementary school students because they talk about alcoholics and smokers. I do not think that chilren thast young should be reading about that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was too detailed to be a book about a ten year old girl. It did deserve the Newberry Medal Award because of the great descriptions it gave to picture as if you were there with her. The Higher Power of Lucky has sort of a deep meaning beyond what a child would normally see. I would not suggest that children read it, but I would recommend it for young adults instead. It has lots of unusual position that Lucky is in that most children do not have to go through and that might help those who have not gone through, picture how easy they might have it. It also makes children who are in situations like Lucky, recognize that they are not alone. There is someone else out there who might be in the same circumstances as them.
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucky lives in a one horse town with her father's ex-wife because her mom died and her dad doesn't want her. Lucky cleans up after the "anonymous" meetings and really wants to find her own higher power. Sweet and engaging book.
KaseyPlumbtree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: This book is about a girl named Lucky. She is a ten year old girl and is from California. She lives with a French Guardian. The French woman looks after her because her mother passed away and her dad is not much of a dad. This book is about Lucky and how she is searching for comfort. She is basically longing to know what her higher power is.Personal Reaction: This is a good book. I feel like all children can relate to Lucky¿s character. I am glad this book is a Newbery winner. I feel like children will enjoy this book.Classroom extension ideas: Discuss the book out loud, Quiz on the book, Art ideas from the book, Discuss the main character or characters
dknapp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girl named Lucky. Her mother died when she was younger and she now lives with her father's ex-girlfriend Bridgett. Lucky listens in on the town's meetings of drinkers, druggies, and smokers and they all talk about finding their Higher Power. Lucky wants to find hers so that Bridgett won¿t leave her. Lucky is afraid that Bridgett wants to send her to a group home and go back to live in France. Lucky plans to run away and make Bridgett realize how much she loves her and stay. During a sand storm, Lucky runs away and has the whole town out looking for her. In the end, she realizes that Bridgett didn't plan on leaving her but was actually planning on opening a French restaurant there in town.I liked this book. There was allot of conflict (self-self, self-others, self-environment) in this book. It is about a young girl who is trying to find her way after overcoming a difficult start in life and not the best circumstances. This book would be good for older children to read, probably young girls. It would be good for them to relate to.
fullerl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story gives us a glimps into the thoughts and fears of a fifth grade girl by the name of Lucky. Lucky is not an average 10 1/2 year old. Her mother is dead, her father has no desire for a connection with her, and she is in the care of her father's first wife, a French woman named Brigett. The girl and her foster mother live in the timy impoverished town of Hard Pan. The description of the poverty, as well as Lucky's perception, is matter-of-fact. There is no sense that this community dwells on their desitute state. It is a story that takes place within a poverty ridden community and while the story is not specifically about poverty, the descriptions of life in Hard Pan create a sort of sub-lot and commentary about poverty. Lucky wishes more than anything to figure out how to fin her Higher Power. While it is not directly stated, Lucky is still clearly dealing with the loss of her mother 2 years previous. She has many questions and in some sense is a very philosophical little girl. Lucky constantly questions the world around her. Through her questioning and probing for information, Lucky does find a Truth...just perhaps not the one she was expecting to find.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Continuing my quest to read the Newbery Award winning books, this is the latest.Once again, I am in awe of the ability of YA books to reach out and tug at heartstrings while dealing with very complex issues.I highly recommend this profoundly moving tale of Lucky, a rough and tumble ten year old whose mother died tragically and thus now is in the guardianship of her father's previous wife Brigitte.Brigitte moves from France to temporarily take care of Lucky until a "real" home can be found.Living in three tiny connected trailers, existing in poverty in the hot, dry desert community of Hard Pan, California (total population of 43), Lucky, who does not perceive herself as such, fears that one day Brigitte will leave and return to a better life in France.Shirking the responsibility of raising Lucky, her father periodically sends checks to Bridget that are never enough to cover bare necessities.Strongly fearing it is only a matter of time until Brigitte moves back to France and thus tosses her aside, Lucky, ever aware of needing protection, carries a "rescue kit" with her at all times.While sweeping and cleaning the Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, Lucky quietly listens to the testimonials of the AAA meetings where she hears the stories of those saved by trusting the "higher power." Lucky knows that if only she can find her higher power, she will have a better life.Lucky's friends consist of her lovable, loyal dog HMS Beagle, knot-tying obsessed Lincoln (named because his mother wants him to grow up to be the President of the US), and scrappy little five year old cookie mooching Miles, also a orphan-like waif, raised by his grandmother.Wanting to be the one who leaves and abandons before this happens to her, Lucky runs away. Using the resources she stashed away in her rescue kit, she lives overnight in a cave.When Brigitte and town members rescue Lucky, she learns that Brigit is in the process of adopting her and it was never was her plan to leave.Lucky discovers that her "higher power" is indeed the fact that not only is she loved by Brigitte, but also by the 43 people of the town.
kdebros on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is really a sweet little book, and the "offensive" word on the first page simply leads up to a beautiful ending, in which the little girl finally feels enough of a connection with someone to ask them what the word means. Lucky is an orphan and lives in a tiny little town with other people who get their food from the government. Her job is to sweep up the cigarettes after the AA meetings, and the candy wrappers after the dieter's meetings, and she listens to the group therapy as they talk about finding their "higher power." Curious, Lucky goes in search of her own "higher power."
lunacat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucky's mother died in an accident and her father doesn't care. She is looked after by her Guardian, Brigitte, whom she believes will soon be abandoning her to go back to her life in France. After all, why would she want to stay in the Hard Pan, with its dust and its population of 43.This Newbery Award Winner has been liked to the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary but sadly, for me, it held none of the charm and enjoyment associated with those books.Lucky is a mixed up girl with a dog named HMS Beagle and an obsession with finding her Higher Power, the way that she will feel content.Unfortunately, I never felt any emotional attachment to any of the characters, and I wasn't particularly interested in what she was going to find. The writing was OK but felt stilted and as if the author was trying too hard at times. The conclusion was convenient and wrapped up with a bow on top.Having read a book such as Getting Close to Baby that was only a Newbery Honor book, this winner was a disappointment. Perhaps others would be able to get more from it than me, but I won't be trying it again, and I hesitate to recommend it.A boring and undeserving Newbery Winner which provoked little emotion
mygirljennifer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucky is about the cutest little girl ever. It's just a little kids reader, in fact the perfect little kids reader. Except for that one little reason. I would use a little white out and write in some different words. Either that or provide a nice graphic for the little girls to look at, so they understand. Kind of like in the little house books. I look down on the Newberry Award people for putting it forward. But again, Lucky is just the most adorable little character.
mkschoen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Weird little book. Lucky lives in a trailer park? ghost town? Never really clear - in the California desert, with her guardian Bridgette. She is constantly worried that she will Bridgette will go back to France and she will be sent to an orphanage, and she decides to run away, into a dust storm.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a cute book and typical newbery winner.Lucky's mother has died and her father who never wanted children recruited his ex-wife from Paris to come be Lucky's guardian.They live in the middle of the desert but Lucky thinks all Brigitte wants is to go back to France and stop being her guardian..Lucky eavesdrops on all the Anonymous Meetings and decides she needs to find her higher power so everything will work out.I think all of you can see where this story goes.The unique town setting is what makes the story.Cute Juvenile fiction.
johnlobe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Higher Power of Lucky is a wonderfully written book that manages to deal with difficult themes such as abandonment and grief in a simple setting with a small cast of characters. Each quirky character plays a key part in the story and one gets the sense that no detail is wasted in moving the plot forward. Matt Phelan's stark illustrations beautifully support the writing.
tnelson725 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucky is a ten-year-old girl whose mother was died when she was electrocuted. Her father¿s ex-wife, Brigitte, then comes from France to take care of Lucky, who is terribly afraid that Brigitte will leave her. Lucky starts to call upon a higher power that she heard about while eavesdropping on a twelve-step program in her city (Alcoholics Anonymous). Lucky finds some papers in Brigitte¿s suitcase and thinks that they are three signs to leaving so she runs away with her friend, Miles, and her dog. She soon realizes that she needs to return home and, when she returns, Brigitte explains that the papers are actually adoption papers because she wants to adopt Lucky.A lot of kids will probably be able to identify with this story in that they have, at one time, misunderstood something when it came to their family or parents and got upset.In the classroom, I would have students write a character analysis on the main character and then make a poster with the information on it.
sylvatica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is significantly more heartbreaking to read as an adult than it would be as a child. Lucky¿s fears are those of a ten-year-old ¿ an orphan in uncertain circumstances, but a child nonetheless. To an adult, her clear poverty, abandonment, and other hard times are well-written and therefore hard to read. I recommend this book, but with caution for some children, because losing one¿s parents is one of the largest fears out there. On the other hand, the life of her tiny town and the beauty of the desert around her is woven with care and gentleness. (pannarrens)
iecj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucky¿s mother dies and she ends up living with Bridgett who turns out to be her long lost father¿s ex-wife. Lucky likes her home and living with Bridgett and is fearful that Bridgett is going to move back to France and leave her. Lucky ends up running away during the worst time possible, but in the end is able to stay with Bridgett who never intended to leave. This book is most appropriate for middle school readers.