Junonia by: Kevin Henkes

Usually, I’m a character guy.  I fall in love with characters in books, and let the setting and plot come along for the ride.  Today, I finished Junonia by Kevin Henkes, and for the first time in a long time the setting is what I fell in love with.

Junonia takes place in February at a beach cottage, named Scallop, on the Gulf of Mexico.  The Florida setting grabbed me on page 2: The sun was blazing. The water-beneath and beyond them-glinted wildly. Seconds earlier, Alice had been thinking that the surface of the water was like glossy, peaked blue-green icing sprinkled with truckloads of sugar. 

The story isn’t super excited, and it doesn’t build to a super heart pounding climax.  The story just kind of calmly flows like the gulf waves on a cool morning (corny? or does it work?).

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Alice and her parents.  I come from a family of 7 children, so I have no idea what life as an only child would be like.  This family does it so well. They are so close, but the parents still give Alice her space.  It almost made me want to trade in my two youngest kids. Just kidding.

Junonia is beautifully written.  Not sure how my fourth graders would do reading this book on their own, but I think it would make a great read aloud.


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