Friday, February 2, 2018

Middle Grades Pick: The Skeleton Tree

Review by Guest Reviewer Lisa Lopez, Library Media Specialist, Lujan-Chavez Elementary in El Paso, Texas. Follow Lisa on Twitter @ LLopez_LCES

The Skeleton Tree
by Kim Ventrella
Scholastic Press
2017
240 pages
ISBN: 9781338042702

 Lisa Lopez reviewing:

The Skeleton Tree is a middle grades book perfect for reluctant readers by debut author Kim Ventrella. Chapters are short making it an excellent choice for reading clubs and classroom reads.

Stanly is dealing with a ton of problems: his parents are recently divorced, his mother works too much,  and his younger sister has a terminal illness. There is comic relief in interactions with their caregiver who is from Kyrgyzstan.

At one of his sister's many doctor appointments, Stanly reads about The Young Discoverer's Prize. He is excited because he thinks he can win with a photo of a weird growth on the tree in his back yard. It appears that the tree is growing bones! Stanly can save his whole family. With the prize money in hand, his archeologist dad will come back home and Mom won't have to work too many jobs. His sister will get more attention and the caregiver from Kyrgyzstan won't have to visit again.

When Stanly's best friend Jaxon takes of photo of the tree, the kids can't believe the bone aren't visible. No one can see the skeleton but kids, and they can't see it in photos. Just what is happening to the tree and why?

Ventrella mixes pre-teen angst, real-life drama, mystery and the supernatural in The Skeleton Tree. This is an angel-of death spin done well for middle grades.

Recommended grades 3-7.This book is available on Scholastic Book Fairs.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review nor did guest reviewer Lisa Lopez.



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