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Jimmy's Stars Hardcover – April 29, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374337039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374337032
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,862,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Ellie McKelvey feels assured that her brother, Jimmy, will not be drafted into the army because he the only breadwinner in the family while their father is recuperating from a broken leg. She is certain that the draft board will have forgotten about Jimmy or that the war will end quickly. But the Nazis and the Japanese continue to advance, and Jimmy eventually receives his orders. As the war and Ellie's story drag on, she displays a typical 11-year-old's childish anger, blaming her brother for promises he cannot keep. She witnesses her neighbors experiencing death notices and the return of wounded soldiers. Rodman's development of a child's emotional response through her protagonist's unwavering wishful thinking climaxes as word comes of Jimmy's heroic death. Ellie's disbelief extends to desperation and then hopeful thoughts that an error has occurred and that her brother will return any day. Ellie's story moves slowly, but readers will sympathize with her loneliness and inner strength to believe in miracles. This psychological, child-oriented war perspective could provide significance in today's military dilemma.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Beautifully crafted . . .  Ellie’s intense outpouring of grief is masterfully portrayed, and Rodman’s painstaking attention to historical detail creates a vividly realized sense of time and place. Readers will find this emotionally gripping story of love and loss profoundly moving.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

"Finds beauty in every emotional nuance as Ellie hurtles between self pity, denial, and even rage toward her brother for having “welshed on the deal.” The lively spirit of working-class Pittsburgh, where neighborhood families live for news of the war and the fate of their sons, extends Ellie’s personal story with a broader sense of homefront life. Suggest this fine novel as enrichment to World War II curricula." —Starred, Booklist
"This psychological, child-oriented war perspective could provide significance in today's military dilemma." —School Library Journal
"Rodman's careful attention to Ellie and Jimmy's pre-enlistment domestic rituals and to their upbeat, encouraging correspondence establishes the tight, affectionate bond between brother and sister."
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

“Packed with intimate details about life in America during World War II, this book will leave readers with a meaningful picture of what it was like to live through those very hard years.” —Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Review

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Customer Reviews

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He must report to Union Station at 6 A.M. October 2, 1943.
A. Pohren
This book is excellent and I am buying several copies to donate to the middle school where I substitute teach.
Christi Gibson
This book shows the effects of war on the soldiers in both a physical and mental way.
Melissa A. Palmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ellie McKelvey, a sixth-grader from Pittsburgh, enjoyed baseball, going out to the movies with her brother Jimmy, and hanging out with her friends, but she despised Victoria Gandeck. After all, Victoria called Jimmy a slacker because he had not gone off to fight in the war like Victoria's own four brothers. Ellie knew that Jimmy had a deferment from the service because their family depended on his earnings. However, now that their dad had returned to work, it was only a matter of time before the draft board would call her brother into the service.

Jimmy reported for duty on October 2, 1943. Ellie missed her brother terribly, and she tried to take comfort in his promise to come home for Christmas. All around her, the war effort impacted every part of Ellie's life. Her Aunt Toots moved from West Virginia into their house, into Jimmy's room, so she could get a factory job. Ellie's mother also joined the likes of Rosie the Riveter and found work at a factory, her older sister got a job at the local diner when the owner's daughter joined a volunteer women's division of the navy, and Ellie found herself performing a growing number of household tasks. Daily routines changed as food items became rationed and as materials from children's toys were recycled for wartime production. Even at school she could not escape the war, with her teacher's bulletin board covered with pictures of former students and family members who had joined the military. Worst of all was the collective shock and grief when the telegram delivery boy brought news about the loss of a loved one.

By approaching the difficult theme of war through the eyes of an eleven-year old girl, Mary Ann Rodman makes the story both accessible and spellbinding for middle grade readers.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a poignant story about a young girl whose beloved older brother Jimmy is drafted into the army to serve as a medic during WW2. Ellie enjoys a very close relationship with her brother who always calls her, " Movie Star": she meets him at his bus stop after he finishes work every night, they go to the movies together every week and they always pick the Christmas tree together. Ellie knows that other kids have brothers who serve as soldiers but she prays that Jimmy will not be drafted -for a while he isn't since his father broke his leg and Jimmy is the only financial support for the family-but then the official military letter arrives and Jimmy leaves. Ellie's father returns to work, her mother starts a job, and her Aunt Toots joins the family and moves into Jimmy's room. Ellie holds desperately on to Jimmy's promise that he will be home for Christmas. She does not get along with a girl named Victoria who constantly brags about her four brothers who all serve in the military but soon even her best friend Stan often joins Victoria and her group to play war so Ellie feels abandoned. This wrenching story shines: the dialogue is crisp and natural sounding, and the setting rings with authenticity. A retired teacher is drafted back to teach the younger siblings and children of former pupils, neighbors bring food and dispense comfort to bereaved families, Mr. Corsiglia hangs audio speakers outside his grocery store "so he could share his collection of Bing Crosby Christmas songs with the neighborhood. Whether they wanted to share them or not". Ordinary activities go on side by side with descriptions of meat rationing. This is a truly excellent story filled with the robust language and spirit of wartime America that also does not mince words about the family suffering that accompanies the yellow telegrams delivered by the War Department.
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Format: Hardcover
Jimmy's Stars is a beautiful, poignant and touching story. Eleven year old Ellie McKelvey finds out one day that her beloved brother, Jimmy, has been drafted into the war. He must report to Union Station at 6 A.M. October 2, 1943. This is the day that will change Ellie's life forever.

As young Ellie learns to deal with a house and daily life without her brother at home, she cherishes the days when a letter comes in the mail addressed to her from Jimmy and she knows that he is all right. Soon Christmas comes and goes and Jimmy does not come home, as he promised. An occasional letter still makes it's way to Ellie, as her young life is filled with the sacrifices and worries brought on by the war. Each day prayers are said that the war will come to an end and loved ones will be home safely.

Jimmy's Stars is a vivid peek into a bygone era of war and sacrifice. Mary Ann Rodman brings both the characters and the sitting to life and enables the reader to fall right within it's pages. This is a story geared toward the 9 - 12 age range, however, I think that anyone of any age would deeply enjoy this stirring work. Though this is the first story by this author that I have read, I anxiously look forward to reading more by her. I greatly enjoy her style of writing and am enormously pleased to have discovered her.

Not only do I give Jimmy's Stars my highest recommendation, I also believe that this would be a perfect book for a book club pick. Such a perfect book for young people (and adults alike) to read and discuss together. Mary Ann Rodman brings forth an engrossing story, with Jimmy's Stars, and displays a true talent to engulf young people in the treasure of reading.
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