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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Storyteller* by Patricia Reilly Giff- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Patricia Reilly Giff:


Zigzag Kids #5: Bears Beware

R My Name is Rachel

Zig Zag Kids 1: Number One Kid / Zig Zag Kids 2: Big Whopper

Wild Girl
by Patricia Reilly Giff
Grades 5-7 176 pages Wendy Lamb September 2010 Hardcover    

When we think of America’s Founding Fathers, we usually imagine them to be wise old men united in their desire for an independent country. Certainly Elizabeth never suspected that one of those early patriots was a girl just like her.

While visiting an aunt she barely knows, Elizabeth discovers a portrait of her many-times-great-grandmother, Zee. The genes have passed through so many generations, yet they’ve reassembled themselves in Elizabeth, a 21st-century girl who has never milked a cow or lived on a farm.

Something about Zee’s portrait clings to Elizabeth’s imagination and it’s more than just facial similarity. As the story of her ancestress unfolds, it becomes clear that Zee and Elizabeth have many things in common. Though separated by centuries, Zee’s story leads Elizabeth to important revelations about herself.

Patricia Reilly Giff spins two tales in Storyteller, highlighting the universal themes of loss and courage. Zee’s story is set in the American colonies, where friends, neighbors, and even families are divided by different opinions about the coming war for independence. Some believe the King of England is a tyrant with no right to control the land settled by pioneers. Others maintain unshakeable loyalty to the monarchy.

Zee’s brother heads out to fight for the patriots, but the boy she loves defends the king. As tensions rise, it’s not always possible to know what’s right nor who is the enemy.

Storyteller highlights the conflict behind the American Revolution in a spellbinding structure that goes much deeper than the usual historical events presented to young readers. Today’s young people, like Elizabeth, may be surprised to learn that American independence was not a unanimous choice and that hundreds of colonists were killed for their opinions.

At the heart of the story is the human factor; in every century, young women like Zee and Elizabeth face loneliness and heartbreak, but they also have strengths and talents they may not recognize.

Giff’s love for history led her to write this book, but Storyteller goes far beyond a factual account of war. It is a story about personalities and emotions, about connections and consequences. History is not dates and events. History is people, and Patricia Reilly Giff brings some of those people to life in this vivid and thoroughly enchanting novel.
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