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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flutter by Erin E. Moulton

This is another of the books I picked up at the NCTE convention as a galley. Flutter, the first novel by Erin E. Moulton,  is slated for release in May of this year, and I will definitely be recommending this to many of my students. It is a great story with just the right balance of adventure, danger, and heart-warming moments to appeal to many of my students who prefer realistic fiction. I can also see this book being a Newbery contender. It has many of the elements that I see within Newbery Award & Honor books – a story strong on family ties, conflict, and emotional growth of the main characters. It is a book that doesn’t take the easy way out for the characters, but was never so stressful for me, as a reader, that I grew frustrated.

Summary: The Rittle sisters live a happy life with their parents in the mountains of Vermont. Dawn, the eldest, is serious and follows the rules. Maple, the middle sister, is more adventurous, and loves her mother’s songs and stories. Beetle, the youngest, is a rambunctious toddler who adores her older sisters. They are all excited about the new baby on the way – ready to welcome another sibling to their tight-knit family. These sisters each have their own “thinking cap” for when they have to ponder a problem (Dawn’s is a top-hat, Maple’s is a catamount paw that ties to her head with string, and Beetle’s is a war helmet.) Dawn and Maple have learned the scientific names of many of the birds that live around them, thanks to their father and his books, and each of them has their own bird call, which they use as a RSDS (Rittle Sister Distress Call). Life is as perfect as it can get for the Rittle family.

Then, little sister, Lily, is born early with a weak heart. Dawn & Maple overhear a conversation about how Lily needs a miracle to survive. Maple decides to trek out to find that miracle, relying on the folk stories her mother has told and sung to her, her father’s map, and a book of folklore. Dawn, unwilling to let Maple trek out by herself, joins in the journey to seek out a miracle from the Wise Woman, whose stone face watches over a pool of water rumored to have miraculous healing powers.

During their journey, the girls face wild animals, poachers, the elements, and their own sibling baggage in their quest to find a miracle for their new sister. While reading this book, I found myself cheering for the Rittle sisters, holding my breath when they were in danger, and relieved when they escaped one scrape after another.


Age Appropriateness:
Grades 3 & up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none
Violence: mild – involving vivid descriptions of poaching

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