Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Toppling by Sally Murphy with illustrations by Rhian Nest James

John loves dominoes. He can spend hours lining them up, making a pattern, and then sending them toppling. It's so satisfying when everything goes exactly the way that it's supposed to. Sometimes John's best friend Dom sets up the dominoes with him; John really likes spending time with Dom and they get along really well. Then Dom gets sick and stop coming to school. What can John do to help make things feel right again?

Like many kids, I suspect, I'm not entirely sure how to actually play dominoes, but I've definitely spent some time setting them up and knocking them over. I know that there must be books out there that explore what it means when your friend gets sick, but I think that well-crafted books for this young elementary school audience will always be welcome. John's world doesn't exactly fall apart, but it shifts and slips; he still goes to school, he still eats dinner with his family, he still hangs around with friends, but it's not the same because his best friend isn't there. The book also touches on how helpless people feel when something like another person's health is out of their hands; it also brings in the different ways that people react to serious news. The verse-novel style blends well with the illustrations, giving readers a glimpse both into and at John's world.

Check out Sally Murphy's website.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls
Jessi's Wish by Ann M. Martin
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy

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