- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; Library Binding edition (June 23, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316614432
- ISBN-13: 978-0316614436
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,732,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blow Out the Moon Hardcover – June 23, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6–In this novel based on the author's childhood in the 1950s, Libby, an engaging and feisty girl, moves from New York to London with her parents and three younger siblings. Her first school in London is a less-than-positive experience–the children tease her, and even the teacher is unkind. But things look up when she is sent to Sibton Park, a boarding school in the countryside, where everyone is nicer. Koponen is a gifted writer whose distinctive style has a conversational rhythm from frequent use of colons, dashes, and the like. She is especially good at describing what to modern children will seem like a very different time, with adults thoroughly in charge and children expected to sit quietly while the grown-ups talk. The author is very good at a kind of straightforward subtlety, an asset in a quiet book whose main focus is on emotions. The book's visuals are another asset, with small photos placed throughout, showing the author's childhood letters, pictures from her favorite fairy tales, the ship her family sailed on to England, and more. As a novel, the story lacks dramatic tension, especially after Libby leaves her first English school, but overall this is a thoughtful and interesting book.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Gr. 3-6. Delightful is a word that is overused in reviews, but it's difficult to find one that's more appropriate for this novelized memoir--though warm and cozy would do in a pinch. During the 1950s, Koponen's family moves to London. Leaving America is difficult, and life is no easier there. A fan of boarding-school stories, Libby jumps at the chance to go away to Sibton House in the English countryside, where she does make friends, learns to ride a horse, and is noticed for her writing talent. This seems to be a book that first-time author Koponen has waited a lifetime to write. Almost every page is dotted with photos or souvenirs, but more intriguing than the visuals are the images she offers of herself: a bit of a swaggerer who proudly informs the Brits about the Boston Tea Party but a girl who can also appreciate the silvery light of the English countryside. Today's readers, especially Harry Potter fans, will love the British bits and the details of boarding-school life. One thing will surprise them. Having read about Libby's taking the Tube alone and going off to school by herself, they'll assume she is 11 or so. When she matter-of-factly states she was 8 during her time in England, they'll more clearly grasp the idea of a simpler time. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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Libby is a great character for kids to relate to--she's not perfect, and though her high spirits get her into trouble sometimes, her heart is in the right place. And she's willing to change to become a more thoughtful and considerate person. There are few contemporary books for kids that deal with the subject of manners and etiquette--and that's not all this book is about--and it's refreshing to see it dealt with in a playful, yet enlightening way.
Kids will also be capitivated by the world of Sibton Park School, with the horseback riding, dormitory life, and all of its English ways. Christmas is coming, and we're going to give BLOW OUT THE MOON to all of my daughter's friends. Thank you, Libby, for such a wonderful book. We look forward to your next book!
I got a paperback of this book in our local bookstore. I instantly liked the cover because it featured a young girl standing in front of a gated fence looking at a school building, maybe contemplating if she's gonna give it a go or just run away. The image is powerful and drew me in.
What I also loved about this book are the real pictures that Libby had kept from those years living in London, those letters she wrote, the tea set, the dolls, the paddocks, even her French tests and pair of Wellingtons. The book, all in all, is a beauty! And if there's one thing that made me really love her and the story, it was the inclusion of the map of Kensington Gardens (remember Peter Pan?) and Hansel and Gretel! Yes, those were favorites of mine and it's nice to read a novelized memoir about a girl after my own heart.
At the boarding school-Sibton Park-she makes friends, is trained how to ride a horse, and learns how to speak, eat, and behave as a proper lady might. One simply does not, for example, comment on the food one is served. And to her credit Libby does not, even though "the English idea of spaghetti" is a plate of "plain spaghetti.and a small pitcher of completely smooth, very runny ketchup to pour on top."
The descriptions of time and place are wonderfully vivid. Readers will slip slowly into Libby's world without realizing it. Soon the words on the page disappear and you are there with her, in the garden, sitting under an old oak, the sun making "little wavering patches of light and shadows on the lawn;" the grass warm to the touch.
At story's end Libby and her family move back to America. There, she realizes she is not the same person as when she left. Back in her old school, she glances at the tall windows that went almost to the ceiling. "I'd never liked how much sky you could see (it was too blank)," Libby writes. But now, she realizes, she did enjoy the "bright blank blue sky." It was "filled with light and wide open to everything. I felt that way, too; and bursting with energy."
The text is interspersed with sidebars, black and white photographs, and illustrations which help readers picture the scenes and visualize unfamiliar items-such as Wellington boots and lemon curd.
The story is deftly written. It never lapses into sentimentality nor does it ever veer from the child's-eye view. Libby's voice shines through-honest and authentic. At heart this is a moving portrait of growing up, formative moments, and lessons learned. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by the Education Oasis Staff
Really engaging story of an American family's 18-month stay in England.I read my library's copy.Highly recommended for all ages and especially other Anglophiles.
Most recent customer reviews
I just finished this book (in 2 readings) ...and I definitely wanted to do nothing else but read it.....which lately means a lot.Read more