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Monday, March 05, 2007

The Higher Power of Lucky


The Higher Power of Lucky
Author: Susan Patron
Illustrator: Matt Phelan
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Richard Jackson Books
ISBN-10: 1416901949
ISBN-13: 978-1416901945

Lucky is a ten year old girl living in Hard Pan, California (pop 43) in the California desert. Her mother was electrocuted to death and Lucky’s absentee father has sent for his previous wife Brigitte all the way from France to be guardian to Lucky until a foster family can be found as he has no interest in being a father to her. Brigitte misses France and Lucky is afraid she’ll soon return, leaving Lucky in an orphanage without her beloved dog, HMS Beagle and far away from the town and people she loves.

Lucky is a complex and interesting character. She’s smart, determined, funny and caring. She’s got a lot to work through and she is determined to find a way, to find her higher power. She tries to get control of her life by putting together a survival backpack and through her scientific experiments. Lucky can be brave. She chases a snake ut of the dryer that is scaring Brigitte, but as the same time she fears Brigitte will leave because of the snake.

Lucky also eavesdrops on various Anonymous meetings like Smokers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous in her quest to find her higher power, that elusive thing that will solve all her problems.

The Higher Power of Lucky is a fascinating glimpse of life in the small towns of the Californhia desert. For me, whose father lived up in Lucerne Valley, another California small high desert town, the book really resonated. The local characters in Lucky’s Hard Pan were a lot like people my father knew and hung out with. All in all, The Higher Power of Lucky is an amazing story. Matt Phelan’s line drawings are perfect with the story and give Lucky and her pals such a wonderful look.

Awards:
ALA Newbery Medal

ALA Notable Children's Books

Kirkus Editor's Choice

Book Description from the Publisher:
Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has.


It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers.


Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick.

But she hadn't planned on a dust storm.

Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

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