Binny for Short by Hilary McKay
Binny’s life had been perfect but now she lost two of the most important things she ever had. First, her father died, taking his stories along with him. Then, because money became an issue, Binny’s dog had to be given away. Her dog was taken by her mean Aunty Violet, who never told anyone where Max had been sent. So when Binny found herself alone in a car with her Aunt, she told her exactly what she thought. Aunty Violet died soon after that conversation and left Binny and her family her old cottage by the sea, a tiny house but one of their very own. Now Binny finds herself in an idyllic seaside town, meeting great new friends and even better enemies, but still missing Max. Binny though is not a girl to easily give up, so she sets about planning to find her dog, no matter what.
I am such a fan of McKay and her writing. She has a natural flow both in her narrative and in the very real voices that all of her characters use with one another. Additionally, her characters are all flawed and realistically drawn which adds greatly to the veracity of her books. In the end, her books are filled with human beings who live in messy ways through their messy lives, beautifully.
Each member of Binny’s family is worthy of their own novel. Her older sister is glamorous and musical, yet works incredibly hard to afford the necessary lessons to be a musician. She is also as much a parent as their lovely but scattered mother. It is James though, her little brother, who completely steals the book. As he wears a wetsuit that he found in the trash every day that is pink and green, he has to prove that he’s a boy often, which of course means undressing in public. He is also growing poison lettuce in his window box from stolen seeds that just happened to find their way into his pocket. In other words, he’s a delight.
Strong characters and splendid writing result in a virtuoso start to a new series that will have McKay fans cheering for more. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from copy received from Margaret McElderry Books.
The film version of Lois Lowry’s The Giver is building an impressive cast according to an article in Deadline.
Jeff Bridges has been attached to the project for some time and now Meryl Streep will be playing the chief elder. Also joining the film are Alexander Skarsgard and Cameron Monaghan. Brenton Thwaites will be playing Jonah. The film starts shooting in eight weeks and is a co-production of The Weinstein Company and Walden Media.
Here’s hoping that such a stellar cast will result in a film worthy of one of my favorite books of all time.
Continuing the celebration of the 10th anniversary of this blog, here are my Top
Ten 30 Reads for 2004.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (reviewed August 6, 2004)
The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper (reviewed February 8, 2004)
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini (reviewed October 13, 2004)
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith (reviewed June 5, 2004)
Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja (reviewed February 25, 2004)
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (reviewed June 6, 2004)
Colibri by Ann Cameron (reviewed April 7, 2004)
A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence (reviewed September 11, 2004)
The Crying Rocks by Janet Taylor Lisle (reviewed May 30, 2004)
Double Helix by Nancy Werlin (reviewed April 23, 2004)
A Fast and Brutal Wing by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson (reviewed December 22, 2004)
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (reviewed February 29, 2004)
The Game of Sunken Places by M. T. Anderson (reviewed July 30, 2004)
Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (reviewed May 3, 2004)
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (reviewed March 30, 2004)
Ida B. by Katherine Hannigan (reviewed September 30, 2004)
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (reviewed March 17. 2004)
Inside Out by Terry Trueman (reviewed August 19, 2004)
Keesha’s House by Helen Frost (reviewed February 15, 2004)
Messenger by Lois Lowry (reviewed April 20, 2004)
No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia (reviewed April 26, 2004)
Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E. L. Konigsburg (reviewed April 22, 2004)
A Perilous Power by E. Rose Sabin (reviewed July 5, 2004)
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (reviewed November 2, 2004)
Secrets in the Fire by Henning Mankell (reviewed March 5, 2004)
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson (reviewed December 9, 2004)
Target by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson (reviewed February 22, 2004)
Tending to Grace by Kimberly Newton Fusco (reviewed October 26, 2004)
Truesight by David Stahler, Jr. (reviewed September 17, 2004)
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (reviewed June 3, 2004)