FICTION

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

S. & S.//Atheneum. Oct. 2019. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481438285.
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Gr 5-8–Ten short stories paint a picture of what happens one particular afternoon after the dismissal bell at Latimer Middle School. Each tale focuses on one student or group of friends. The magic of this book is Reynolds’s ability to weave the same teachers and various students in and out of the ten stories. Students after school swirl and eddy. Ms. Post the crossing guard helps everyone cross the street while her son looks on from his spot by the stop sign; Ms. Wockley, the principal, stands in the hall yelling at students; and Ms. CeeCee sells penny candy from her house. Some backstory in each piece puts the characters’ actions into perspective, with each entry ending with a bit of a surprise. The very last one ends where the first one begins, with a mythical flying school bus. Poetic language is used throughout to help distinguish one character from the next.
VERDICT The perfect book to hand to reluctant middle grade readers, who will relate to the hectic and uncertain lives of these characters.

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