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BES 2003-2004 Annotations

Grades 4-6

Carbone, Elisa� -� Storm Warriors
After helping to rescue the crew of a storm-disabled ship off the coast of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, twelve-year-old Nathan wants to join the surfmen of the only Africian-American lifesaving station on Pea Island.� During this post Civil War period, Nathan's father discourages his dream and Nathan, when confronted with his own personal limitations, sees a better way to contribute.

Clements, Andrew� -� A Week in the Woods
Mark Chelmsley is a very bright, lonely boy whose parents move him to a New Hampshire estate part way through his 5th grade year. As he will be entering a private boarding school in the fall they enroll him in the public school to finish out the year. Although loving, his parents are mostly absent and he is left under the care of the live-in housekeeper and her husband who take good care of him but leave him to his own devices to explore the outdoors and fit in as best he can. The adjustment isn’t helped by the 5th grade science teacher, Mr. Maxwell, who decides that Mark is a spoiled rich kid who won’t appreciate the annual 5th grade weeklong field trip to a nearby state park. During the trip, Mr., Maxwell, the nature expert, is forced to rely on Mark to save him and they both come to appreciate each other.

Creech, Sharon� -� Love that Dog
Jack's school journal, in which he responds in free verse to a variety of poems shared by his teacher, starts with "I don't want to / because boys/ don't write poetry." Through his journal entries we see Jack, with the help of his teacher, develop respect, then appreciation for poetry, and gain confidence to express in writing, his feelings for his dog.

Gutman, Dan� -� The Million Dollar Kick
Whisper Nelson hates sports-all sports with a passion! So when by chance she wins an opportunity to kick a goal past a professional soccer star for a prize of a million dollars, she is torn. Should she try it, risking failure and humiliation or just forget the whole thing and save what dignity she has left? Win or lose, taking the Million Dollar Kick might be exactly what Whisper needs to do to make her own dreams come true! Harlow, Joan� -� Star in the Storm
In a Newfoundland village in 1912, twelve-year old Maggie fears for the safety of her beloved Newfoundland dog named Sirius because non-shepherding dogs have recently been outlawed in the village.� To keep from losing her dog, Maggie tries to save him by keeping him hidden.� Sirius proves his worth when he saves the lives of several people during a raging storm.

Kehret, Peg� -� Stranger Next Door
Pete the Cat helps tell this story of how he, and his owner Alex, search for the vandals who have been torching new houses in their sub-division. Alex suspects Rocky, the new boy next door, because he is evasive and aloof. Rocky is sure the culprits are the thugs his family has escaped by being placed in the Witness Protection Program.� Pete knows the truth, but he can only meow!

Martin, Ann� -� Belle Teal
Belle Teal can’t wait for fifth grade to begin because she and her best friend, Clarice, will finally have Miss Casey as their teacher. How are they to know that they will face many challenges during this greatly anticipated year? Set in the early 1960s in the rural South, Belle’s school and community learn to accept the integration of their school and Belle becomes friends with an African-American boy who is in her class. In addition, Belle learns to deal with her grandmother’s fading memory, a classmate who denies the death of her mother, and Belle’s own mother’s struggle to support their small family. The story is told with clarity and sensitivity and today’s students should easily recognize that Belle’s problems and solutions are similar to their own.

Naylor, Phyllis� -� The Great Chicken Debacle
While other children enjoy their freedom as summer vacation starts, the Morgan children make plans for taking care of a chicken. Desperate to get their father to take them to an amusement park, Cornelia, Charles and Mindy strike a bargain agreeing to hide and care for the chicken that is to be their mother’s surprise birthday gift. This task is not as easy as it seems as their summer turns into the summer of The Great Chicken Debacle.

Rodda, Emily� -� Rowan of Rin
Because the town of Rin’s water supply is drying up, 7 travelers must climb the high mountain, guarded by a dragon and fraught with other dangers, to correct this. Rowan, young, timid and weak, must accompany them because only he is able to read the magical map. One by one each confronts his fears and turns back until only Rowan is left to face the danger alone. Is he up to the task?

Wiles, Debbie� -� Love, Ruby Lavendar
Ruby’s close relationship with her charmingly quirky grandmother is shattered when Miss Eula goes to Hawaii to spend the summer with a new grandchild. Although life in Hallelulia, Mississippi is not the same, Ruby finds solace in writing heartfelt letters across the Pacific. The mayhem of a small town operetta brings life to a head as she comes to grips with her grandfather's death, sees the goodness in a long time enemy and grows new confidence in herself and her world.

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