Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review-Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller

A wonderful middle grade read, Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth, by Andy Hueller, is 249 pages long and published by Cedar Fort Publishing.
The Story- Calvin Cobble is an orphan, living in all places, in a hole inside the planet. In the hole rests an island, named Robert. There are only two things on the island, an orphanage and a maximum security prison.
Calvin, with untameable red hair, has been there for seven years. His best friend is half his age, a spunky girl named Berneatha.
A deep question haunts his soul, who were his parents? The adults at the orphanage seem to hint that they know something, but no secrets are forthcoming. While living in this insane place, Cal seeks solace by hiding in a tree and watching the gardener skip stones across the water. His luck changes when the man, Mr. E, takes notice of him and begins teaching Cal the art of stone skipping. His lessons are the only brightness in Cal's life. When he learns that his father might be on the island, secure in the prison, Cal sets off with Berneatha and Mr. E to find out the truth behind his heritage.
My Thoughts- This book was so well written.  There are actually three sub plots that dance around the main plot. Bouncing between years the author takes the reader on a journey. We learn how the island in the center of the earth came to be, who Mr. E really is, and the story of adventurer Bartholomew Roger's. All these plots come together as we learn about what happened to Cal's parents. The author really paces new information well, at first I just couldn't picture this hole in the Earth, but then, as the story continues, the history and descriptions are vivid and bring the full picture into view. I love the idea of  large screws holding the planet together, it is such a unique idea.
For parents- Very minor violence regarding a school/orphanage bully. No bad language or themes.

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