Aleca Zamm Is a Wonder
Aleca Zamm Is a Wonder

Series: Aleca Zamm Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Aleca Zamm is ordinary compared with her sister and friends until her tenth birthday, when she discovers she can stop time just by saying her name, which could cure her test anxiety.
Catalog Number: #144699
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Chapter Book Chapter Book
Publisher: Aladdin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 127 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-47061-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-47061-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016032078
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Aleca Zamm worries that she doesn't have "a thing" that makes her stand out. That is, until she turns 10 and discovers that by saying her name aloud, she can stop time. Mischief ensues when she starts testing out this newfound power, but it's short-lived: her aunt Zephyr comes along as a mentor and explains that Aleca is a Wonder, someone who gains a special power at age 10, and that she needs to control her special ability in order to stay safe. Rue is adept at describing details of school life, and even attempts to include some diversity with Aleca's Spanish-speaking bestie, Maria. The fast-paced writing is broken up into tight chapters, and the novel ends with a cliff-hanger leading into the main plot of the next volume in the series. Aleca's playful sense of humor and struggles with test taking and impulse control are believable for a character her age. Rue's clear, detailed writing style in this charming series opener makes this a great pick for emerging independent readers.
Horn Book
Aleca Zamm laments being ordinary until she discovers, on her tenth birthday, that she can freeze time. Throughout these first two books, Aleca explores the benefits of being a "Wonder" (as teleporting Aunt Zephyr calls her) as well as the downsides (such as keeping her powers secret, especially from meanie Madison). Slight, lighthearted fare for middle graders wanting humor with their magic.
Kirkus Reviews
On her 10th birthday, Aleca Zamm discovers she can stop time.After some nasty bullying and a frame job by the class mean girl, a teacher's pet, Aleca's asked by the principal for her name. When she says it, time freezes; saying it again unfreezes time. What's this newfound ability good for? Chaos! Aside from taking a peek at an upcoming math quiz (she has a bit of test anxiety), she has fun setting up a humiliating tableau for her tormenters and then restarting time. Her wish fulfillment continues as she experiments with her ability before her orange-haired great-aunt arrives—because of Aleca. Aleca, like Aunt Zephyr, is a Wonder: one who gains a power upon turning 10. It skips a generation in the Zamm family and has caused lots of misery to some (a mind reader was forced to become a hermit, and her grandfather could talk to animals, but they would never leave him alone). Zephyr can help. Wonders are immune to one another's abilities, and Aunt Zephyr warns that someone could be looking for them….Aleca's ability is likely to provoke both envy and thought on the part of readers, though some flourishes, such as her little dances while time's stopped, feel arbitrary. Aleca's white, and her best friend is a bilingual Spanish speaker, but most characters lack physical descriptions and racial or ethnic markers. A fast, fun origin story with appealing wish fulfillment. (Fantasy. 7-10)
Publishers Weekly
On Aleca-s 10th birthday, her best friend predicts that -today is the day everything changes for Aleca Zamm.- And she-s right: Aleca quickly discovers that, by saying her own name, she can stop time. What does she do with this newfound power? Pull pranks on her classmates, teacher, and principal and cheat on a math test, of course. But before Aleca can move on to dangerously altering the course of human events, her heretofore unknown great-aunt Zephyr shows up to assure her that she-s not a witch but a magically talented -Wonder.- After the funny opening chapters that focus on Aleca-s use (and misuse) of her powers, the novel takes a prolonged detour into the Zamm family-s history of magic. While entertaining, it doesn-t move Aleca-s story along very far, and things seem to end before they ever really begin. Nevertheless, Rue-s (the Tig Ripley novels) heroine is memorably mischievous and strong-willed, which bodes well for her future adventures. Simultaneously available: Aleca Zamm Is Ahead of Her Time. Ages 7-10. Agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (June)

School Library Journal
Gr 35On her 10th birthday, Aleca Zamm discovers she can stop time. Her birthday starts out like any other ordinary day, until the class mean girl, Madison, frames Aleca for something she did not do. When the principal asks Aleca her name, she responds and time freezes. It isn't until Aleca says her name again that time resumes. Aleca quickly realizes that she can use her newfound talent to her benefit, taking a quick peek at the math quiz and finding ways to embarrass Madison. Later that day, at home, Aleca's aunt Zephyr informs the Zamm family that Aleca is a fellow wonder, who gains power upon turning 10 years old. Apparently, the magical abilities skip a generation in the Zamm family, and Zephyr can help Aleca control and deal with the challenges she will face in the future. VERDICT This series starter is filled with humor, adventure, and magic. A solid addition to most elementary collectionsideal for younger middle grade readers.Megan McGinnis, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist
Horn Book (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (6/1/17)
Word Count: 13,755
Reading Level: 4.3
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.3 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 189945 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 660L
Aleca Zamm Is a Wonder


Everybody's Got a Thing but Me

"Maybe timed tests aren't your thing," my mom said as we waited in the car pool line before school.

"What is my thing?" I asked. "See, Mom? That's the thing. . . . I don't have a thing."

"Sure you do," Mom replied. "Everyone has a thing."

"Then what's mine?"

"Oh, Aleca, you're good at lots of things."

"Name one."

"Well," Mom began. "You're very good at . . . You're very . . . Well, you have a wonderful sense of humor."

"No I don't," I said. "I'm not good at telling jokes."

"But you laugh at all the right places in funny movies," Mom insisted.

"Laughing at stuff that's funny isn't a thing, Mom," I replied.

"Being a loser--that's your thing," said my sister, Dylan, from the front seat. She could be really mean sometimes, especially since she'd started middle school last year.

"Dylan, that was unkind and uncalled for," Mom scolded. "And on your sister's birthday, of all days." She made Dylan apologize and say happy birthday. Dylan did it, but she didn't mean it.

Deep down I knew Dylan was right. If I had a thing at all, it was being a loser.

It certainly wasn't singing, like Dylan . . . or swimming, like my best friend, Maria . . . or soccer or gymnastics or dancing or anything else.

And it sure wasn't math. Which was why I was so stressed out that morning.

It was Wednesday, so we were having another timed test. I'd practiced at home all weekend, but whenever Mrs. Floberg put a test on my desk, my hands got sweaty and the room started spinning. We were supposed to do fifty problems in three minutes, but I could never finish in time with a 90 percent or better. Which meant that I didn't get a Jolly Rancher when the tests were returned the following day. Pretty unfair, if you ask me, because (a) Jolly Ranchers are delicious, and (b) Jolly Ranchers given out by a teacher taste better. Don't ask me why; they just do. Plus, being forced to smell other people's blue raspberry and cherry Jolly Ranchers while you sit there math shamed is just plain WRONG.

"I know you're worried about the test today, Aleca," Mom said, "but all you can do is give it your best shot."

"It won't matter." I shook my head. "Mrs. Floberg hates me."

"I'm sure that's not true," said Mom. "Why wouldn't she like you?"

"Because Mrs. Floberg loves Madison, and Madison can't stand me."

"I can't imagine that your teacher would be childish enough to play favorites, Aleca."

"I don't have to imagine it. I live it. Mrs. Floberg knows how bad I am at math, but she always calls on me to work the hardest problems on the board," I insisted. "She does it to embarrass me."

"She's probably just trying to help you reach your full potential," Mom offered.

"Mrs. Floberg doesn't care about my potential," I replied. "Every time it's the same thing. She calls me up for the hardest problem, I stand there like a dork with no idea what the answer is, and then she says, 'Is there someone who has been paying attention, unlike Aleca?' And then Madison raises her hand and solves the problem, and Mrs. Floberg tells her how great and wonderful she is."

"I'm sure you're exaggerating, Aleca," Mom said. "Just try your best on the test. And think good thoughts about your birthday dinner tonight. I'm making all your favorites!" Mom stopped the car, and a safety patrol boy opened my car door. Mom called, "Good luck, sweetheart!"

The safety patrol boy snickered.

"Good luck, loser," Dylan called just as the safety patrol boy shut the car door.

I should've been mad at Dylan for calling me a loser again, but really . . . I figured I could use all the luck I could get.

Excerpted from Aleca Zamm Is a Wonder by Ginger Rue
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Meet the wonder-full Aleca Zamm, an ordinary ten-year-old with an extraordinary ability: she can stop time!

Aleca Zamm has finally reached double digits and she still doesn’t have a “thing”—a special talent or ability that will make her stand out. Her best friend, Maria, has a thing (swim team); her sister, Dylan, has a thing (singing); and even her former BFF Madison has a thing (soccer). But Aleca? No. Thing.

Until the day of her tenth birthday when Aleca discovers she can stop time just by saying her name. Suddenly, Aleca has a thing…and life is about to get a lot more interesting!

It turns out that being a Wonder (as her eccentric Aunt Zephyr, who is also a Wonder, calls it) comes with a few caveats, and that stopping time doesn’t go undetected by other Wonders or those who may be searching for them. With her new mentor Aunt Zephyr by her side, Aleca discovers that being special comes with special challenges she never expected.

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