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Olive's Ocean
Cover of Olive's Ocean
Olive's Ocean
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"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they...
"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they...
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Description-

  • "Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."

    Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't — and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.

    Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.

    And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if?

    The world can change in a minute.

    Performed by Blair Brown

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Kevin Henkes has been praised both as a writer and as an illustrator and is the recipient of the Children's Literature Legacy Award for his lasting contribution to literature for children. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon; Caldecott Honors for Waiting and Owen; two Newbery Honors—one for Olive's Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller—and Geisel Honors for Waiting and Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Sun Flower Lion, A Parade of Elephants, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in a house in Madison, Wisconsin.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Twelve-year-old Martha Boyle stands on the brink of discovery: about her family, about first love, and mostly about herself. As her family prepares for the annual visit to her paternal grandmother, Martha is given a journal entry from her classmate, Olive, who was killed in an automobile accident. Martha didn't really know Olive, but the journal entry makes Martha reflect on what might have been if Olive hadn't died. In her two weeks on Cape Cod, Martha learns to deal with the changing emotional landscape that comes with adolescence. This quiet, introspective story seems a bit overwhelmed by Blair Brown's strong, deep voice. While she reads with calm assurance, delineating the characters well with inflection and pacing, the overall effect is disappointing. A lighter voice might have provided more sparkle for the carefully crafted language and the depiction of the main character's changing self-awareness so skillfully created by Henkes. S.G. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 18, 2003
    With his usual sensitivity and insight, Henkes (The Birthday Room) explores key issues of adolescence, through the observations of aspiring 12-year-old writer Martha Boyle. In the opening scene on an August morning in Madison, Wis., Martha receives a visitor: the mother of her classmate Olive Barstow, who was hit by a car the month before. The woman hands Martha a journal entry, in which Olive describes her own wish to be a writer—and to "get to know Martha Boyle next year... the nicest person in my whole entire class." Since Olive kept to herself, these revelations forge an unexpected bond between Martha and this classmate she never knew. The other hope Olive confides in the entry is that she could "one day... go to a real ocean such as the Atlantic or Pacific." Martha begins an unwitting pilgrimage of sorts: she strolls with her toddler sister to the corner where Olive died and, when she goes to visit her grandmother, Godbee, on Cape Cod, Martha experiences the ocean for Olive and for herself. In brief chapters, Henkes reveals Martha's discovery of life's fleeting qualities, her deepening bond with Godbee, and her first stirrings of romantic feeling and betrayal. Readers can peer through this brief window into Martha's life and witness a maturation, as she becomes a young woman, appreciates life anew and finds a way to give something back to Olive. Ages 10-up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2003
    Gr 5-8-As Martha and her family prepare for their annual summer visit to New England, the mother of her deceased classmate comes to their door. Olive Barstow was killed by a car a month earlier, and the woman wants to give Martha a page from her daughter's journal. In this single entry, the 12-year-old learns more about her shy classmate than she ever knew: Olive also wanted to be a writer; she wanted to see the ocean, just as Martha soon will; and she hoped to get to know Martha Boyle as "she is the nicest person in my whole entire class." Martha cannot recall anything specific she ever did to make Olive think this, but she's both touched and awed by their commonalities. She also recognizes that if Olive can die, so can she, so can anybody, a realization later intensified when Martha herself nearly drowns. At the Cape, Martha is again reminded that things in her life are changing. She experiences her first kiss, her first betrayal, and the glimmer of a first real boyfriend, and her relationship with Godbee, her elderly grandmother, allows her to examine her intense feelings, aspirations, concerns, and growing awareness of self and others. Rich characterizations move this compelling novel to its satisfying and emotionally authentic conclusion. Language is carefully formed, sometimes staccato, sometimes eloquent, and always evocative to create an almost breathtaking pace. Though Martha remains the focus, others around her become equally realized, including Olive, to whom Martha ultimately brings the ocean.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

    Copyright 2003 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 1, 2003
    Gr. 5-8. More than anything Martha wants to be a writer. The problem is that her father does, too. Is there room for two writers in a single family? This is only one of the many questions that beg to be answered during Martha's twelfth summer. Here are others: Is Godbee, the paternal grandmother whom the family is visiting at Cape Cod, dying? Why is Martha's father so angry? Could Jimmy, the eldest of the five neighboring Manning brothers, be falling in love with her (and vice-versa)? And what does all this have to do with Olive, Martha's mysterious classmate, who died after being hit by a car weeks earlier? Olive, who also wanted to be a writer and visit the ocean, and hoped to be Martha's friend. Like Henkes' " Sun and Spoon" (1997), this is another lovely, character-driven novel that explores, with rare subtlety and sensitivity, the changes and perplexities that haunt every child's growing-up process. He brings to his story the same bedrock understanding of the emotional realities of childhood that he regularly displays in his paradigmatically perfect picture books. This" "isn't big and splashy, but its quiet art and intelligence will stick with readers, bringing them comfort and reassurance as changes inevitably visit their own growing-up years.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2003, American Library Association.)

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    Greenwillow Books
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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