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How High the Moon: A Novel Paperback – April 6, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The summer of 1955 is a tough one for 10-year-old ragamuffin Isabella, nicknamed Teaspoon, who's been enlisted into a Big Sister–style program that's supposed to teach her civilized behavior. Five years earlier, Teaspoon's mother took off for Hollywood, leaving her boyfriend, Teddy, and her daughter to take care of each other; now a full-fledged tomboy, Teaspoon is paired in the program with popular 18-year-old Brenda Bloom, whose mother owns the movie theater in their suburban Milwaukee town. Sketched with nostalgic sweetness, this hard-luck coming-of-age story sees Teaspoon discovering her talent for singing while getting caught up in plans for the theater's gala re-opening, her mother's promised return, Teddy's budding relationship with Sunday school teacher Miss Tuckle, and Brenda's romantic dilemmas. Kring (The Book of Bright Ideas) gives her young, put-upon protagonist an authentically weary voice, but telegraphs her plot revelations, provoking little emotion beyond the mildly touching. Though the chatterbox heroine makes an engaging narrator, readers may be reminded more of Dennis the Menace than Anne of Green Gables. (May)
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From Booklist

Fans of Kring’s previous novels, including Thank You for All Things (2008), will welcome her heart-tugging latest, narrated, once again, by an irrepressible child. In small-town Wisconsin in 1955, 10-year-old Teaspoon struggles at school. Pining for her mother, who left her with a boyfriend while she “chased dreams” in Hollywood, only adds to her restlessness. Her concerned teacher enrolls her in Sunshine Sisters, a girls’ mentoring program, and Teaspoon finds herself teamed up with the “Sweetheart of Mill Town,” 18-year-old Brenda Bloom, whose mother owns the Starlight cinema, Teaspoon’s favorite avenue of escape. Gradually, as the unlikely pair bonds, Teaspoon recognizes similarly unsettled sorrows in her picture-perfect Sunshine Sister. Kring balances Teaspoon’s occasionally too-precious naïveté with jolts of earthy realism: “I love you with all I’ve got, but I’ve never been one to let mushrooms grow under my ass,” Teaspoon’s mother says before abandoning her daughter. Kring skillfully evokes the warmth and suffocation of small-town life, as well as the heartache and resilience of children buffeted by parental failure, all delivered in Teaspoon’s memorable, winsome voice. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385341210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385341219
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gayla M. Collins VINE VOICE on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Meet Teaspoon, an irascible, imaginative fifth grade child who can talk the spots off a lady bug. Teaspoon will tell you before you asked that her mother came in one day saying, "I gotta go, kid. I've got dreams to chase," leaving nothing behind but me, a sinkful of dirty dishes, a pair of elbow length gloves still in a box, and Teddy, her boyfriend of a year, bawling on the arms of his ratty work shirt."

Teddy is a decent man with a gentle love for Teaspoon and tries to raise her to high standards, but the jumping bean girl quells that endeavor. Her wild nature and imagination drive her to many predicaments dragging along, Charlie, the little neighbor boy dropped on his great grandma's porch step. When trouble comes a courting, Teaspoon grabs the shaking lad's hand and they go a dancing their way into a whirlwind of shady adventures.

Born with a huge, beautiful voice that knocks the socks off listeners by the time she is 5, Teaspoon's true dream is that her mother will return and take her on the road to success. She practices to be a "girlie girl" but has only the "Taxi Cab Ladies" to be her mentors. Teaspoon is enthralled by the lovely ladies, heavily made-up, doused in perfume, provocatively attired, who hang in front of the drugstore till the taxi picks them up to go for a ride....this happens several times a day.....hmmmmmmmm.

Ms. Kring writes her world weary characters with such warmth, such richness, such creativity, that instead of being bogged down in gloom the reader kicks their heals to Sandra's fiddle of humor. This author's prose is ever flowing, filled with similes and colloquial folksiness, smooth and precise. Entertaining and yet poignant. Quality with substance.

This is such an enjoyable read; treat yourself to laughs, to a plotline that is first rate, and a story that infuses you with hope.
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Format: Paperback
Similar in style to Lesley Kagen's national bestselling book Whistling in the Dark, Sandra Kring's How High the Moon is set in Wisconsin during the 1950's and has you drying your cheeks on one page and laughing out loud the next. Readers can surely relate to Sandra Kring's amazing ability to translate the difficult situations in life through the eyes and heart of a child. Done so effortlessly, with such candor, humor and grace, you simply want to keep reading. I found How High the Moon to be a witty, endearing story I couldn't put down.

After being abandoned by her Hollywood chasing mother, 10-year-old singing sensation Isabella "Teaspoon" Marlene is left in the care of her mother's former boyfriend, Teddy, and dreams of the day she'll be a star. Poor in the pocketbook, Teddy's rich in spirit as he does his best to raise the highly rambunctious Teaspoon alone. Always singing and fantasizing about the year her mother will triumphantly return, Teaspoon is as spunky and tomboyish as any little girl can get, which usually lands her in a heap of trouble with a line-up of other delightful and captivating characters. When Teddy can no longer take her shenanigans, Teaspoon agrees to clean up her act. Joining the Sunshine Sisters mentorship program, she's paired with Mill Town's favorite teenage sweetheart and beauty queen, Brenda Bloom. Brenda's family just happens to own Teaspoon's favorite theater in the entire Midwest, which makes her weekly visits a little more tolerable. As the unlikely pair develops a heartwarming friendship, Teaspoon is filled with a new sense of contentment.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely LOVED this book! I fell in love with Teaspoon on page one, and was immediately hooked. Ms. Kring deftly weaves an adult tale through the eyes of the eleven year old Teaspoon whose mother has abandoned her and to pursue a career in Hollywood. Teaspoon has been left with her mothers boyfriend, Teddy, whose whole life now revolves around Teaspoon, who in turn decides to learn to become "respectable" because it's so important to Teddy. Teaspoon gets involved in a mentoring program (Sunshine Sisters, far more interesting than I am making it sound!) and there Teaspoon learns there are differing levels of respectability and we readers get lead down several different engaging sub plots. I laughed, I cried, I was angered and actually "Hooray"ed (out loud, my family thought I was nuts) through the whole thing. I highly recommend this wonderful book for anyone and all their friends. Definately one for the keeper shelf!
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Format: Kindle Edition
It's 1955 in Milltown, Wisconsin, where ten year old Isabella "Teaspoon" Marlene lives. She is a sweet but outspoken little girl, who misses her mother and wonders when she will be coming home. Teaspoon's mother left her with her boyfriend Teddy, telling her that she had "dreams to chase", and she then took off for a career in Hollywood.

Teddy is man who care deeply for Teaspoon. She tells people, "Teddy is the boyfriend Ma left me with", but "Teddy is as good as Jesus". Poor Teddy has his work cut out for him. He learns that Teaspoon has let her school work slide, and that she might not get promoted to the sixth grade. She also starts getting into fights, so something has to change. She reluctantly joins a group called The Sunshine Sisters, a mentoring program, aimed at changing the direction in life of wayward children. Her role models to date have been the Taxi Stand ladies who stand on the corner by the drug store, wear too much makeup and perfume and dress in skimpy, flashy clothing. To make matters worst they have taken a liking to Teaspoon.

Her Sunshine Sister experience pairs Teaspoon up with Brenda Bloom, and an unlikely bond is formed. A summer performance at the Starlight Theater Group, where Teaspoon gets to sing, has made a positive impact on her. She even hires the Taxi Stand ladies to do the makeup of those performing. Now she dreams about a possible singing career in her future.

MY THOUGHTS - There is so much more I could say about this wonderful story, but I don't want to give away too much detail. However, if you love coming of age stories set in small town America, with characters you will grow to love and care about, then this book will appeal to you.
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