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Just Juice (Scholastic Signature) Paperback – November 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Scholastic Signature
  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; 1st Edition 1st Printing edition (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590033832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590033831
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Newbery Medal-winning novelist Karen Hesse--known for her painterly ability to re-create historical worlds for young readers--turns her attention this time to a contemporary family that lives as if in another era. The engrossing, eight-member Faulstich family, residents of an Appalachian hill village perhaps in Kentucky or West Virginia, has learned to endure impoverished conditions ever since Pa got laid off from the mine. Only the children are guaranteed a "sandwich" each day (bread spread so thin with jelly "you can hardly find the purple"); there are no regular doctor or dentist visits, even for Ma, who is carrying another baby; and the only surprise presents at Christmas are the ones the older girls make at school.

Smack in the middle of this brood is the narrator, 9-year-old Juice Faulstich, a sweet, resilient tomboy who likes to explore and learn. She gets along well with her big and little sisters, has talent as an apprentice metalworker in her Pa's makeshift shop, and forgets every worry when she's dancing to fiddle music. She's so capable, in fact, she's the family member all the little ones look up to the most. Yet it turns out that the highly skilled Juice, who can handle everything from power tools to her Pa's depression ("We all look out for him. But I look out for him best, even Ma says so") is plagued by an inability to understand letters and reading. "No one believes me. No one believes how hard I try. No matter what I do, it's never enough," she explains.

With wonderfully gentle narrative pacing, Just Juice weaves together a compelling plot that involves Juice's learning challenges, Ma's suddenly difficult pregnancy, and a pending foreclosure on the family house due to unpaid taxes. It may sound bleak, yet in Hesse's able hands the Faulstich clan remains hopeful, creative, and kind with one another throughout--almost even more so when things seem the darkest. This fine book abounds with memorable and true images of family love, personal perseverance, and unexpected, effervescent breakthroughs. (Ages 8 and older) --Jean Lenihan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Like her Newbery Award-winning Out of the Dust, Hesse once again celebrates a child's ability to extract beauty, pleasure and even signs of hope from her harsh surroundings. The opening image of Ma "spreading grape jelly so thin on the sliced white bread you can hardly find the purple" gives readers an immediate, vivid impression of the Faulstich family's poverty level. The simple, honest narrative of nine-year-old Justus ("Juice") Faulstich matter-of-factly expresses her plethora of concerns: Pa is out of work again; Ma is pregnant and keeps having dizzy spells; and she herself has to repeat third grade because no matter how hard she tries, she simply can't learn to read. On top of that, the family must come up with back taxes amounting to $1000. The outside world may be cold and cruel ("Poor as Job's turkey, that's what the church ladies say we are"), but Juice doesn't let it overshadow the warmth of her home: "We might not belong to anyone else in this whole world. But us Faulstiches, we belong to each other." Hesse's poignant story of a family faced with seemingly insurmountable hurdles is filled with small triumphs and momentary insights. Juice's resourcefulness and faith in her father set him onto a vocational path, but also lead her to the realization that, as she learns to read, she may have to leave him behind: "Pa and me, we've been careful tiptoeing around this particular secret. But I can't let Pa's half of the secret keep me from doing something about mine." This brave heroine will pass the torch to readers everywhere; her courage is infectious. Ages 8-10.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A great read for child's.
Debbie East
The language is approachable without being low, and the tone is sweet and simple without being sappy or emotional.
When I saw the cover that made me want to read it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book because it depicts a truly loving family--rare in literature today, without sentimentalizing their economic difficulties and personal problems. The beauty is that the characters accept one another for what and who they really are, while at the same time they help each other to improve. Karen Hesse skillfully avoids the trap that causes many writers to inflict stereotypical "mainstream" goals on their characters, casting the poor or the unprofessional person in an unfavorable light. Juice is a girl secure in her own being, confident in her goal to work as a machinist in her father's shop. Both she and he are illiterate, a problem that will be solved, with the help of an understanding mother and new determination. Literacy, however, will not change the basic goal or the family unity that exists from the introduction of these lovable characters (a mom who takes time to cherish each child and to praise her illiterate, sometimes confused husband as a "business tycoon!"). Literacy will not turn Juice into a doctor or a lawyer; indeed, it will crystalize her personality and enable her to function even better than she already does. The scenes are memorable, the dialogue and narrative in perfect keeping with the setting, and the characters live on long after the story is told.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Waldemar, Jr. on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
I used this book as a read aloud with my third grade class in New York City. A few of the children have been struggling with reading since they began school, and I felt that those students might connect with the main character in some way, shape, or form. I was not prepared for the profound impact this book would have on all of my students. As a class, they were moved to tears towards the end of this story. During our book talks, I watched children who have hesitated at speaking during literature discussions finally raise their hands and share their thoughts. They know a person like Juice, some are just like Juice. This book broke down an invisible wall in my classroom, allowing my children to have an open, honest dialogue about their own difficulties with reading and matters of the heart. "Just Juice" has changed the way many of my children view themselves as readers, students, and little people. I thank you, Karen Hesse. My students thank you.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Calvin Cheng on March 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Just Juice is a novel written by Karen Hesse. It is about a child named Justus Faulstich, an illiterate child who prefers to be called Juice. She lives in the country with her poor family, composed of her Pa, Ma, and four sisters, Markey, Charleen, Lulu, and Turtle. The family has to deal with many problems, which include Ma¡¦s expecting a baby, Juice¡¦s truancies, and Pa¡¦s financial and job troubles. One day, Pa receives a letter saying that their house has been sold to pay off the owed expenses, especially taxes. Since Ma is expecting a baby, Pa decides hide the truth from her and see what he can do to make the money needed to get the house back. Soon, the family receives another letter saying that Juice has missed so many days of school that they will be fined one thousand dollars. This is when the tax secret is revealed, and Ma helps to solve the problem.
This book is beautifully written from the first to the last word. The author makes such ordinary and simple events very absorbing by giving Juice a voice. The dialect that she uses when narrating the story enables readers to hear her talking about events that happen and how she feels about them. In addition, this story is unique because instead of one large victory at the ending, there are many small triumphs throughout the book. Unlike most books, which have a single peak (i.e., climax) in the story, this book has several smaller ¡§hills¡¨ instead. For example, when Juice auditions for the best role in a class play, she is unsure of how she will do. It turns out that she gets the part. This book is worth reading because it is unique compared to others.
I feel that this is an excellent book overall. My favorite part, though, is when Ma is having another baby.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I think Just Juice was an interesting book because Just Juice had a lot of action and Just Juice never got boring. One of the exciting parts of the book Is how Juice's family is going to pay their taxes.Another exciting part of the book is how Juice could not read. So she got held back a year. She felt really discourage that she could not read. I thought that was interesting because I was thinking how is she going to learn how to read.The Last exciting part is Ma's blood sugar and how Juice helped her read the blood sugar when she was having her baby.
I would recommend this book to 5 th grader girls because there are not many boys in the story and to people who have diabetes because it shows how people can help them.
The theme of the book is how you works together as a family.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever felt worrried for your parents? To stupid to be at school? thats exacly how Juice the unfortunet pooor girl feels because of family troubles and does not have the ability to read or count. Juices family owes two years worth of taxes to the govern ment and stand to lose their house. Juice hates school so she often misses it. Juices mother Ma is expecting a new baby and is diagnosed with diabetes. Pa is trying to find work but is not having any luck. When Pa finally finds work as a metal worker he is too busy shaping metal and delivering it. One day Ma is in labour and Pa goes into town to find help and Juice is left to deliver the baby but not all goes to plan. This book is adrama and action story full of life and is easy to read. I reccomend this book for children who find it hard to read novels and children who are just developing their reading skills.
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