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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 56 reviews
on August 2, 2017
I found this book through Songht's homeschool curriculum and bought it to use as a fifth grade reader for my ten year old. My daughter began reading it right away, and finished it quickly, commenting that she liked all the big words.

I just finished it myself, and appreciated the rich vocabulary. Truly outlandish words and other languages are defined/translated within the text of the story, while there are other "big words" that are just part of the telling, and will stretch a young reader. The story is clean, but isn't afraid to deal with tough issues.

The only thing I wish is that the foreign language words and phrases were included in a glossary with pronunciations. I ended up using the internet to help me with the French, and shared the pronunciations with my daughter. Otherwise, she would have read them phonetically and missed that aspect of the story. One of the main characters is a French woman, Madame Desjardin, and several other words in French are used repeatedly. Without the reference to pronunciation in the book, many kids may not know or think to find out how to say the words, and it really adds to the story to have that piece.

Blume is a new author to us. After enjoying this book, we requested four more by the author from our library. Both my daughters (ages 8 and 10) are now reading the other titles.
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on March 25, 2017
This is an absolutely fantastic book. I loved reading it with my daughter and son. It has turned out to be one of my favorite books, in fact. Interesting, as it could be called a kid's book! It is so imaginative, so creative, so well written. I could not recommend this book more highly.

Note that it is slow to get into. Some people who were reading it also in our book club put it down because of that, but stick with it into the first few chapters, and then you don't want to put it down, and you don't want it to end.

I honestly believe this book should be in every library, both public and school. Especially because it's got a girl protagonist who is complex and interesting, and it has themes of mother-daughter, of an older person's influence on the young, on friendships and awkwardness in school, on the gift of the magi type of issues that can happen in parenting... All these things are in the book so beautifully presented for children.

The book does not speak down to kids either, which is fresh.

Blume weaves excellent elements for discussion -- economic disparity, racism, different treatment of men and women historically, the caste system, and more -- as well as international settings that expose kids to multiple ways of life.
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on May 22, 2012
Take one lonely, imaginative girl and introduce her to a mysterious old lady, her Indian assistant, and a wacky dog and you will get one roller coaster of a ride. Cornelia feels that she can't hold a candle to her world famous pianist mother who travels the world and leaves the poor girl home alone with the fussy, hovering housekeeper. Her mother is elegant, talented, and a media darling while she is quiet, bookish, and imaginative. She has never known her father except that he walked out on them and is also a world famous pianist.

Cornelia is one smart cookie and uses fancy words as a weapon to keep others at bay. Her adventures begin when she meets the famous writer who moves in the apartment next door while helping the woman's assistant catch the runaway dog. She is astonished that the woman has trees growing from the floor in her elegant apartment and installs a water fountain with fish in the room.

As time goes by, Cornelia's loneliness vanishes as she sees one room after another in the neighbor's apartment. Each room is decorated in the style of one of the countries the 4 Somerset Sisters visited and lived in during their young adult days. None of the girls married. They just had adventures together at a time when women just didn't do that. Each room Cornelia visits has its own set of stories and she is told about them in time.

One day something terrible happens, something heartbreaking, and yet something that leads to such a bittersweet ending you will want to cry all the while you cheer Cornelia on. Read this and be swept away into the magical yet real world of those audacious and outrageous Somerset sisters.
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on May 11, 2015
My 11 year-old daughter adored this book and could not put it down. She took it to a party and finished it there. This is a tough book for a younger person (I won't say anymore) and we needed to leave the party and discuss the book. We had a mini-book club about it and now I need to read the book. My daughter wants to read absolutely everything that Lesley Blume has written and I am currently on a quest to grab all of her books for summer. Based on my experience, I recommend this writer and this book very highly.
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on July 20, 2017
My 9 year old really enjoyed this book.
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on August 25, 2017
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on February 9, 2008
I originally bought this book for my 10 year old grandaughter, but decided to read it myself first. It was a fun history lesson back to the past with a very smart, young girl named Cornelia. She meets an older women, who tells her of the escapades of her youth, with her 3 sisters. The Somerset sisters travelled all around the world in their teens, so it was back in the 1950s and early 60s. You can really feel the flavor of all those countries, because the author writes about the music, food, fashion and historic places in each. The best part is that Cornelia loves to use complex words that are not heard in everyday English, so the child will learn some pretty amazing words, as they delve into this adventure. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and so will my grandaughter.
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on July 11, 2014
Read aloud with my 8 year old daughter. A gorgeously written tale of friendship, sisterhood, and mother-daughter relationships. Travel to Morocco, Paris, London and India with Cornelia and the wonderful Somerset sisters. You are guaranteed to laugh out loud and probably shed a tear or two as well. A classic book. My daughter says not to forget to mention the chien bizarre, fabulous Mister Kinyatta!
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on July 4, 2016
This book had a wonderful story, and the characters were absolutely fantastic. The author wrote with such emotion, I felt like I was there. This story is funny, witty and delightful. I couldn't put it down.
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on October 27, 2013
I was looking for something different that my daughter and I could read together. I happened upon Cornelia, who sounded like a different kind of heroine. Loved her to pieces and so did my daughter. She reminded me a little of myself when I was younger. Shy and prone to using big words to hide insecurities. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend!
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