Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth: A Middle Grade Novel

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth: A Middle Grade Novel

by Andy Hueller

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599554884
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Incorporated/CFI Distribution
Publication date: 08/08/2011
Pages: 241
Product dimensions: 5.36(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

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Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth: A Middle Grade Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
OtotheD More than 1 year ago
Trouble seems to follow Calvin Comment Cobble (Cal), everywhere he goes. He blames it on his unruly red hair. His mother died while giving birth to him and his father is missing, which is why he now lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage, on an island that is literally at the center of the earth. Island Robert, where the orphanage is located, is half bathed in light and half in total darkness. The orphanage is on the light side of the island, and on the dark side is a prison that houses the most dangerous criminals in the world. The orphans are warned when they are brought to the island that they should never, ever, step into the shadows, for once you do, you're gone forever. As Cal dodges bullies, inept teachers and all the rules of the orphanage, his adventures eventually lead him to the mysterious Mr. E who can skip stones across Lake Arctic. Once he starts skipping stones his life will never be the same. In Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth, Andy Hueller has crafted one of the most entertaining middle-grade books I have read in a very long time. Everything about this story is fresh and unique. The characters are zany, the situations far out and the setting is very peculiar. Mr. Hueller has quite the imagination and he uses it to his advantage. The book is targeted at middle-graders, but anyone looking for a quick, fun read will enjoy this one. This is an especially good choice for young boys. (Review based on an Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley)
jwitt33 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Poor Calvin Comet Cobble is a 12 year old redheaded boy who lives at an orphanage in the middle of the earth, on an island called Robert, with a population of 521, otherwise known as "the forgotten 521". Half of the island is taken up by the orphanage, full of forgotten children, and half by a prison where the worst of the worst are sent. Cal is bullied by the other children and the teachers alike, and spends his time just trying not to be noticed - until he discovers that the man who mows the lawns, Mr. E., goes out every morning at sunrise and skips stones across the lake that surrounds their island. A very unlikely friendship starts up between these two, and Cal finds within himself a courage that he didn't know he had.This is a very imaginative world that Andy Hueller has brought to life with wonderful descriptions and storytelling. There are actually two stories being told in this book: The one in real time and another one from 12 years prior that told how the hole in the center of the earth was discovered, and what happened to Calvin's parents that he became an orphan. Both stories are very important and necessary to get to the big finale at the end of the book, and both stories are told in a way that makes this book very easy to read. The characters are fleshed out and three dimensional, and the story flows from one point to the next very easily, even when you are jumping from present to past to present again. This book is a great way to get middle grade boys to read. It's a story that I think they will be able to relate to, the insecurities of being a 12 year old boy, regardless of where you live and your personal set of circumstances.
Krista23 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I honestly have to say I have not read a book like this ever. It was very unique and had a combination of different stories that are tied together. The most interesting thing about it is the situation of the main character, Cal. Cal lives in an Orphanage in the middle of the Earth. This orphanage is very poor. I was very saddened by their situation in which they eat almost inedible food, no clothing, no toys, no proper schooling. When the description of the food and clothes are mentioned I wanted to gag. Also the school is borderline with a Penitentiary that holds very dangerous criminals that were sent to the Center of the Earth for their behavior, only the worst of the worst are there. To be so close to an Orphanage was very shocking and dangerous in my opinion.My favorite part was the fact that the Penitentiary and the Orphanage were on opposite sides of the land and divided by a Shadow Line. To be exact as soon as you stick your arm or foot through the shadow it disappears completely from sight. The criminals are housed on the shadowed part of the land and that makes it a darker, more edgier story because of that.There is also the side story of Bart and the huge golden screws that ties in to how the Orphanage and the Penitentiary came to be. This was probably the most unique part of the story and a little weird and interesting as well. And worth the read for its originality.I think middle grade boys will love this story, there is adventure and some danger and making friends even in the most dire situations.Orphanage = disgusting unkempt poorly managed placePrison = Scary, dark and forebodingGiant gold screws= unique, imaginative and completely new conceptFriends =can be found in the most unexpected of places and people
booktwirps on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Trouble seems to follow Calvin Comment Cobble (Cal), everywhere he goes. He blames it on his unruly red hair. His mother died while giving birth to him and his father is missing, which is why he now lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage, on an island that is literally at the center of the earth. Island Robert, where the orphanage is located, is half bathed in light and half in total darkness. The orphanage is on the light side of the island, and on the dark side is a prison that houses the most dangerous criminals in the world. The orphans are warned when they are brought to the island that they should never, ever, step into the shadows, for once you do, you¿re gone forever. As Cal dodges bullies, inept teachers and all the rules of the orphanage, his adventures eventually lead him to the mysterious Mr. E who can skip stones across Lake Arctic. Once he starts skipping stones his life will never be the same.In Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth, Andy Hueller has crafted one of the most entertaining middle-grade books I have read in a very long time. Everything about this story is fresh and unique. The characters are zany, the situations far out and the setting is very peculiar. Mr. Hueller has quite the imagination and he uses it to his advantage. The book is targeted at middle-graders, but anyone looking for a quick, fun read will enjoy this one. This is an especially good choice for young boys.(Review based on an Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley)
summerskris on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Cal is no hero. He regrets not taking action in the past, and he suffers form discrimination because of his hair color. He's learned not to talk back to adults because he's always dealt swift and horrible punishments. What he wants is not to attract attention. Then he meets Mr. E., and he learns to see another side of the world, one where one tween can make a difference. From there, the story quickly progresses, sweeping you into a story very similar to Cal's and which took place twelve years ago.Twelve years. This number plays a significant role in the book. Twelve years ago, Bart's Screw was discovered. Twelve years ago, Cal was born. Twelve years ago, two brothers' lives changed. Twelves years into the future (aka. present day), Cal is in an orphanage in the middle of the Earth, and he spies on Mr. E. early in the mornings. The switching perspectives develops the backstory of the novel while furthering the plot. These shifts take place just as you reach the climax in one story, leaving you hanging until the last few pages of the book when it all comes together.Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth brings to you a child's worst fears (cue: evil teacher, bad cafeteria food, and oversized bullies). On the brighter side, it expresses the importance of speaking out and being yourself. It tells of relationships: friend-friend, student-mentor, and child-parent. It brings to you the best friend who isn't afraid to tell you off and who is too smart for her own good, the quirky teacher who has a big heart under his scary exterior, and the no-good father who's never been around but who also has a story to tell.This book would make a good novel for a middle-grade reader book club. It has the bad and the funny of tween life and will entertain readers while keeping them engrossed in life at the center of the Earth. At the same time, it instigates the reader to raise questions such as the justice of judging people based on looks, how the city of Robert came to be forgotten, and the role that Mr E. plays in Calvin's lives. There are more thought-provoking questions provided in the back of the book that will generate great discussions.
earthwindwalker on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earthby Andy HuellerBlurb from Goodreads:)Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth Goodreads PageCalvin Comet Cobble lives at Hidden Shores Orphanage. Location: the very center of the earth. Cal's life is full of the school bully and mean teachers, but when he meets Mr. E, who can skip a stone clear across Lake Arctic, everything about Cal's life changes. Told with wit and charm, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is guaranteed to excite and inspire readers of all ages. My thoughts:I knew going into this book that it would be for children and early teens but was pleasantly surprised by the quality and content for the older crowd. It was a quick read and enjoyed it immensely. I could relate to Cal and his feelings about being different and being bullied. I was once a Cal in school. Socially awkward and a wallflower but as I grew older I became more confident with myself and ending up becoming that social butterfly. His boring life ends one day when he meets Mr E. As the story goes on you find out who Mr E is and why he and Calvin are at the Center of the Earth also known as Robert, Alaska and he sets off on adventure to find out who he is and why he is there.This is actually a book about a lonely and misunderstood kid who finds his inner strength and learns that sometimes you have to reach for what you want in life even if it seems impossible. As long as you have friends, you can handle anything.I would recommend this book for kids around 8-12 years old as the writing is very easy to read. Adults and older kids may find they enjoy this read as well.I give this book 5 stars for allowing me to reflect on my past and realize that there other misunderstood kids out there who need a helping hand and giving them the courage to stand up for what they want so that they don't fade back into the wallpaper.Thanks for the great read, Andy.ARC copy provided by NetGally for review
DragonLibrary8 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
My thoughts:This is an interesting story set in a most unusual place! The center of the Earth! What a creative mind to have built such a setting. The author leaves the reader the opportunity to easily see and feel the similarities and differences between people (good and evil sides of them) and the world he has created for the orphans and prisoners in the center of the Earth.The characters are brought to life by careful descriptions. Mr. E - of course - is my favorite character, besides Bernie and Cal. The orphanage and it's teachers and staff are given terrible personalities and totally dishonorable human traits. Such unfortunate situations for children, so much hardness and sorrow. The bright spot being Mr. E and his skipping stones. The characters are courageous and I found myself cheering, holding my breath, being outraged at their treatment, and hoping. Cal and Bernie find a friend in each other and a true friend in Mr. E. It is here in the story where you will see the true measure of determination. The story leans towards deep meaning and gives the reader the opportunity to find their own story within the tale.
ilikethesebooks on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This middle grade read was fun, adventurous, imaginative and overall, very entertaining. The younger audience is sure to love it.Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth is the story of Calvin Comment Cobble, or Cal as his friend (singular) calls him. He has unruly red hair that always seems to get him into trouble. The only thing he knows about his parents is that his mother died shortly after giving birth to him. He doesn't know who his father is. That is how he finds himself at Hidden Shores Orphanage, literally at the center of the earth. This is a story of childhood and all the troubles that come along with it. Crazy teachers, mean kids, limited choices and rules, rules, rules. With the added aspect of the setting, Island Robert, this story is even more kooky, strange and entertaining than most. Robert is at the center of the earth (further explained in the story), half of the island is in light all of the time, that is the half that houses the orphanage. The other half is in complete and utter darkness, which houses a prison for only the most dangerous criminals in the world. Once you step into the shadow, you don't come out. Cal's adventures are fun, hilarious, frustrating, suspenseful and strange all at the same time. But there is one thing I can promise - his story is very entertaining.I really liked the characters in this story. Cal was very likable and understandable, as was his best friend Berneatha. The teachers were very strange, and all very crazy. The rest; Mr. E, Principal Warden, and the school children were all very different, and really added to the story. You'll see what I mean if you read the story, it is kind of hard to explain.One other thing, the story switches from past to present which was something that I really liked. It let the reader see what happen in the past and see the story unfold before the main character does. Usually I find that type of thing kind of annoying, but I like it this time because it set up how Cal and his world came to be.Obviously I was not the target audience for this novel, but I did enjoy it. I would recommend this especially for older elementary and middle grade boys. This is definitely a good one to buy for your sons, little brothers, nephews or grandsons. But that's not saying girls of the same age won't like it too.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
What a wonderful story. The author has created a wonderful world for his characters. Imagine you are a twelve year old boy living on an island in a hole in the center of the earth and you have the basic setting for this story. I would love to spend an hour with the author to ask him questions about the creation of such a fantastic world. Calvin Comet Cobble is an orphan. HE came to live at Hidden Shores Orphanage when he was five. He¿s twelve now and constantly finds himself in trouble. No matter what he does, trouble always seems to find him. It is hard to hide or lay low when you have flaming red hair. One day he watches the gardener Mr. E. skipping stones across Arctic Lake. A friendship is built and Mr. E. begins to teaching him the art of skipping stones. This is a very unique island. I loved the fact they named it Robert. One half of the island, the half with the orphanage is in the sun. The other half of the island is in the shade and house a prison for the worst of the worst. Calvin is curious about what actually happened to his parents. Through a series of events he learns his father may actually be alive and living in the prison on the other half of the island. He, Mr. E. and his best friend Berneatha set out to discover if this is true. Let the adventures begin.I had never heard of this author before this story. It definitely won¿t be the last time. This is a book that I will proudly display on my shelves at school. Young and old alike will find something to love about this book.
aobibliophile More than 1 year ago
Happiness will not pass you by when you're skipping. - Jessi Lane Adams five year old Calvin Comet Cobble is transferred to Hidden Shores Orphanage. for the next seven years, Calvin's daily existence is routine - escaping the Principal's wrath, eating the worst cafeteria food, attending classes and being bullied. early one morning, his life starts to get interesting when he discovers the groundskeeper skipping stones across Lake Arctic. before embarking on an amazing journey to the center of the earth, i oblige you fellow readers to suspend your disbelief and to heed the writer's advice that "all will be set straight in good time." aside from Calvin's point of view, other voices and stories speak across different time periods which may or may not be confusing to some but then each one matters and always remember that as you read "all will be set straight in good time." Calvin, the protagonist, is a very endearing character. he does everything he can in order not to be noticed like the other kids but his untamed and flaming red hair always gets in the way. he is a good person at heart but the world seems to be against him for some reason so much so that his mantra for such a young age is "it was out of his control." how can one not help but feel strongly for this lonely little guy. the teachers at the Orphanage are a colorful group of individuals with strange and funny idiosyncracies. the cooks, the Principal, Mr. E and some of Calvin's peers are wonderfully fleshed out as well. even the worldbuilding was fantastic! Calvin's story is more than just an incredible foray deep into the earth's mantle. it is a boy's adventure in his search for love, identity, understanding and a place in this world. moreover, it is about growing up and taking a stand. i love everything about this book. author Andy Hueller has truly written an extraordinary story that middle grade readers and adults will both enjoy. this book was fun to read and is a keeper for me!