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The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island Paperback – May 16, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—The Fletcher family—four adopted boys, two dads, two cats, and one dog—are off to their annual summer visit to Rock Island. This year the Fletchers' beloved lighthouse is closed and has been threatened with demolition. While seeking answers to the lighthouse problem, Sam joins a theater company, Eli faces his fear of kayaking, and Frog attempts to teach the cats how to swim (in between visits to the ice cream truck, of course). As in the first book, gentle humor abounds: in one memorable scene, a series of mishaps literally sinks the boys' latest lighthouse fund-raising scheme. This time, though, race is an issue: African American Jax and his Latino (and gender-ambiguous) friend Alex are profiled as criminals while engaging in an essentially harmless stunt. Papa's response to the incident—that he can only try to understand what being black is like and that racists do exist but that good people outnumber them—is heartbreakingly honest. A mysterious artist, a video-toting neighbor, a cheery ship captain, and Aunt Lucy's African American magician boyfriend round out the cast, and multiple plotlines converge in a denouement in which nefarious plans are foiled and the beloved lighthouse is saved. VERDICT A must-have middle grade family story with contemporary sensibilities.—Jill Ratzan, Congregation Kol Emet, Yardley, PA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"An old-fashioned summer adventure set in a very modern world, this lively family tale will leave readers impatient for more." —Kirkus Reviews starred review
“As in the first book, gentle humor abounds: in one memorable scene, a series of mishaps literally sinks the boys’ latest lighthouse fund-raising scheme…A must-have middle grade family story with contemporary sensibilities.” —School Library Journal starred review
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And... THE FAMILY FLETCHER TAKES ROCK ISLAND did not disappoint! This sequel is every bit as endearing and crazy and funny and uplifting as the first book - maybe even more so. The Fletchers have packed up the whole family and most of the assorted pets for their annual summer vacation on Rock Island, a place where time stands still. Only this year, changes abound, and most of them are not happy ones.
Like the first Fletcher book, fabulous details make this story come alive with brilliant family chaos. Each boy's voice and story is completely distinct and compelling, and each has his own goals and challenges during their month on Rock Island. Though they also set out on a common goal - to save their beloved lighthouse - and after being thwarted by obstacle after obstacle, they find the help they need in a very surprising way.
As wonderful as it is to spend time with beloved characters, THE FAMILY FLETCHER TAKES ROCK ISLAND is much more than "The Fletcher Family, continued." In this story, Dana Alison Levy shows us not only how much they've each matured and grown, but she also digs deeper, particularly around issues that were introduced in the first book, such as gender and race.
I wholeheartedly recommend THE FAMILY FLETCHER TAKES ROCK ISLAND to anyone and everyone. Long live the Fletchers!
Levy has once again written such a readable book. The Fletcher family is made up of gay parents and four adopted siblings of different races. Yet this series is not about growing up in a diverse and gay family, rather it is about a merry and very human family that is a joy to spend time with. The brothers all treat one another like siblings, meaning they fight, they apologize, they inadvertently hurt one another’s feelings. This series is about a real family, one that comes to life on the page.
Levy does deal very sensitively about race in this book. The scene is handled beautifully where at first readers will not realize what is going on, so their own understanding progresses at the same rate as the young characters who soon realize they are dealing with a bigoted bully. The issue is not minimized, but the family comes together to support their brother as he discovers the harshness of direct racism for the first time.
Smart and very funny, this novel for young people adds a winning second book to a series I hope continues for some time. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
The book is a little more complex (and slightly darker) in tone. Their vacation cottage, like the island, is old and somewhat decrepit -- it had been Papa's boyhood vacation place -- and a beloved lighthouse is crumbling, fenced-off and in danger of demolition. The oldest boy, Sam, is giving hints of puberty (taller, very big appetite, wants to sleep late), the other kids are prone to slightly dangerous mishaps with a tippy kayak, or wanting to put the cat in the bathtub, and there are problems with some of the island's more eccentric characters. Still, it's a pleasant, eventful and intriguing stay with a boisterous family, a story that's never dull, and something that 8-12 year-old readers might like, and, for that matter, adult readers who remember their summers fondly.
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If you don't know the Fletcher family, you should.Read more