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This Means War! Hardcover – April 20, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Lowell has long been 10-year-old Juliet's best friend, but after two Air Force-brat brothers move into their Illinois town, she is persona non grata. She befriends another newcomer, Patsy, whose father also works at the local airfield, and soon the girls and the boys form teams of four bent on challenging one another to prove whether girls are as capable as boys. The plot moves swiftly as Bruce, mean and older, and Patsy, outspoken and competitive, rally their opposing teams into increasingly risky and dangerous tests, including jumping out of a tree and shoplifting. Juliet's parents are occupied with trials of their own. As owners of a local grocery store, they are on edge about the appearance in town of supermarkets. They scare Juliet by arguing at the dinner table about whether President Kennedy will lead the United States into war over the recent Cuban missile crisis. Juliet finally gets their attention after Bruce resorts to arson to beat the girls' team, and she and Lowell brave heavy smoke to save Patsy from a burning barn. The Cold War underlies all, seeping into Juliet's fifth-grade classroom discussions and also into the atmosphere of her friend's underground bomb shelter. These details add realism and substance to an engaging novel that would be a step up for readers of Phyllis R. Naylor's Hartford and Malloy books (Delacorte).—Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Wittlinger latches on to a poignant metaphor for war in this lively and readable tale set against the backdrop of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Fifth-grader Juliet lives near a growing military base, which has brought in an influx of new kids, including the rowdy Patsy. It’s a good thing, too, because Juliet’s longtime pal Lowell has abandoned her to hang out with boys, including the overgrown bully, Bruce. This division turns into an all-out battle of the sexes when Bruce devises a nine-day competition that tests the strength and bravery of girls versus boys. These increasingly dangerous tests (entering a dog pen, shoplifting) bring most of the children closer together, though for Patsy and Bruce, they only escalate the conflict. It’s a clever concept that keeps the proceedings fun even as the darker drama of potential world collapse provides a weighty element; young readers will be shocked to learn of Juliet’s daily prayers, including “Dear God, please don’t let the world end today.” A warm way to introduce the cold war. Grades 5-8. --Daniel Kraus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416971017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416971016
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,295,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
AS a teacher and children's writer,I enjoyed this novel. Set in the early 1960's it gives a good feeling for life in the US in the early 1960's. I was girl, the age of Juliette, when the Cuban Missle crisis happened. And it gave a good protrayal of the feelings of children at that time.

This story revolves around the few days the Cuban missals crisis played out, but at the same time Juliette is dealing with age old problems, parents, worried about their finacial future, an older sister o has turned into a teen-ager, and a best friend, who happens to be a boy, starts to ignore her for his new male friend. When the neighborhood bully joins up with the boys tensions between the neighborhood girls and boys escalates much the the way things between the U.S. and Russia do at the same time. Both stories are compelling making the reader want to read on and see how it is all resolved.
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Format: Hardcover
Many children's first experience of peer pressure comes with the sudden expectation that boys play with boys and girls play with girls, and that anyone who fails to adhere to this standard has something wrong with them. For those who have grown up playing innocently but passionately with best friends of the opposite gender, this unexpected thrusting into the world of sexual politics can be truly traumatic.

That's the world where Juliet Klostermeyer finds herself at the beginning of THIS MEANS WAR! Juliet has been best friends with her neighbor Lowell for nearly their entire lives. Now that they're getting older, though, Lowell is spending way too much time building go-karts with the other boys whose dads are stationed at the nearby military base. He has no time for Juliet, which means that she has a lot of time on her own, to worry about all the other things going wrong in the world.

There is her older sister Caroline, of course, who seems to require more privacy --- and be bossier --- than ever. There are her parents, owners of a small downtown grocer, constantly bickering and worrying about the new supermarkets on the edge of town. And, of course, there is the far-away but ever-nearer threat of war, as the Soviet Union threatens to park nuclear weapons in Cuba, and Juliet and her classmates practice "duck and cover" drills several times a day.

Into this tense world bursts the plucky, charismatic Patsy, who has moved into the neighborhood because her dad is a mechanic for all those fighter planes lined up ready to go to war. Patsy has guts and bravery --- and she's not about to let Lowell's friends, especially the bullying Bruce Wagner, have the run of the neighborhood. So when Patsy engineers a "boys vs.
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Format: Hardcover
This season we are blessed with the publication of two tween books taking place during the early 1960s and the Cuban Missile Crisis. This Means War by Ellen Wittlinger captures what it was like to be eleven years old and worried that a nuclear war was about to take place. Juliet is growing up in the midwest, upset at just having lost her best friend, Lowell, to two "Air Force brats" that have moved in to the military base in their town. Now Lowell has two boys who he would rather hang out with than Juliet. Finally Juliet meets Patsy, whose father is a mechanic in the Air Force. The two of them seek out a way to show the boys that the girls are better than them. To do this, the boys and girls have a series of contests pitting the two groups against each other. While some of the contests are harmless, the final challenge ends up causing some real damage and endangering the lives of those involved.

Wittlinger has managed to develop a novel sharing what life in America looked like in the early 1960s. Juliet's family owns a small grocery store that is having trouble keeping up with the development of the supermarket. Families are building bomb shelters in anticipation of President Kennedy being unable to resolve Russia's aggression toward the United States on the island of Cuba. And Russia is also busily sending a man up in space.

I loved this slice of 1960s America that Wittlinger provides. This is a great historical fiction novel for tweens who are interested in this time period and the beginning of the Cold War.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read it to the kids in my class and they loved it i think i will have to read this book every single school year
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