Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tracing Stars-Erin Moulton

Tracing Stars

Erin Moulton

Philomel, May 10 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780399256967

Known as the fish freak of Plumtown, Indie Lee Chickory has the uncanny ability to make faces of specific fish like the wounded mackerel and the trout pout. She has a pet golden Lobster Monty Cola who lives in a salt water pool just outside Indie Lee’s bedroom window.

Indie accidentally brings Monty to school, which embarrasses her older sister Bebe and leaves her friendless. Worse Monty has vanished. Indie tries to prove to her sibling she can fit in by working at the theater where her sister will soon perform. She and newcomer Owen Stone, exiled by his dad for a summer with his aunt, begin repairing a busted rowboat in search of Monty. However, Bebe informs her to dump Owen the loser or face elementary school as an ostracized pariah.

This is a wonderful upper elementary school fable starring a beleaguered heroine caught between different desires that fail to mesh cohesively for her. Using exaggeration with deft, Erin Mouton’s protagonist muses that if she is to be a loyal Chickory she must adhere to her sibling’s order and dump her friend, but she ponders if doing that would make her a lesser Chickory. Young readers will feel they are part of this fishing village as the adventures of Indie Lee make for a fun time in Plumtown.

Harriet Klausner

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