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Annotation: When her brother Rob, a Navy cook, goes missing in action in 1944, Jayna, desperate for family, leaves upstate New York and their cranky landlady, accompanied by a turtle and a ghost, to seek their grandmother, who Rob believes may live in Brooklyn.
Catalog Number: #76463
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 149 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-440-42178-0 Perma-Bound: 0-605-79443-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-440-42178-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-79443-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2012016631
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Toward the end of World War II, orphaned Jayna lives with her older brother, Rob, a cook in the navy. He ships out for the Pacific, leaving her in their landlady's care. When his ship is sunk and he is listed as missing, Jayna fears that Rob will never return. Hoping to find a grandmother she has never known, she runs away to nearby Brooklyn, where she is taken in by a kind lady who runs a bakery. Throughout the novel, a ghost resembling Jayna sometimes speaks to her, appears to her, or acts on her behalf. As in the Newbery Honor Book Lily's Crossing (1997) and its companion book Willow Run (2005), Giff offers an accessible chapter book with highly individual characters and a convincing picture of life on the home front. Jayna often makes soup, and related recipes appear between chapters. Though parts of the story seem as improbable as daydreams, readers will be swept along by Jayna's first-person narrative and moved by the novel's ending.
Horn Book
In 1945, a ghost girl points Jayna to a tattered notebook containing recipes, a photo of a woman, and an address in Brooklyn. After receiving devastating news that older brother Rob is missing in action, Jayna sets off to locate the woman in the picture, whom she thinks is her grandmother. The ghost adds an element of mystery to the story's well-wrought wartime milieu.
School Library Journal
Gr 5&11;8&12; Jayna and her older brother have lived together in a rented house ever since Rob was legally old enough to take custody after their parents' death. Both are adept in the kitchen: the 11-year-old specializes in soup; Rob is now a Navy cook preparing to join a destroyer crew in the Pacific. He has arranged for Jayna to live with their landlady, Celine, while he is deployed. Jayna's narration is fresh, honest, and plausible as she describes how she is guided by a voice, perhaps a ghost, but certainly a helpful presence. When she and Celine are notified that Rob is missing in action, Jayna leaves upstate New York for the long trek to Brooklyn. There, armed only with an old inscribed cookbook with an address, encouragement from the ghost, and the company of a turtle named Theresa, she hopes to locate their grandmother. Though she doesn't find her, she connects with her own family history to discover that she has relatives, friends, and a future. Near the end of the war, Rob returns with a bit of help from the ghost suggested, perhaps a bit conveniently but satisfying nonetheless. Jayna's understanding of the complexity and kindness of others grows as she does, providing fuller characterizations. While the story is set during World War II, the separation of families and fear of loss in this novel is very contemporary. Jayna's soup recipes placed between chapters reflect her concerns and triumphs in this gratifying story of hope, faith, and family ties.&12; Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Word Count: 26,273
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 156082 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.2 / points:7.0 / quiz:Q59830
Lexile: 540L

It's 1944, W.W. II is raging. Jayna's big brother Rob is her only family. When Rob is called to duty on a destroyer, Jayna is left in their small town in upstate New York with their cranky landlady. But right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna a secret: they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. Rob found a little blue recipe book with her name and an address for a bakery. When Jayna learns that Rob is missing in action, she's devastated. Along with her turtle Theresa, the recipe book, and an encouraging, ghostly voice as her guide, Jayna sets out for Brooklyn in hopes of finding the family she so desperately needs.

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