by Victoia Forester
I picked this up from out Spring Scholastic Book Fair. The cover grabbed me! Luckily, once I started reading it-the story hooked me as well. The story is a little bit tall tale mixed with Spy Kids. My daughter, also attracted to the cover, asked me to read it with her after starting it myself. Oh, what fun some books are to read aloud! I cannot do a great English accent like the rest of my family so she has to listen to Harry Potter in "American English" but I can do a Southern drawl from our three years in Little Rock and Piper and her parents have drawls!
Piper decided to jump off of the roof. It wasn't a rash decision on her part.Piper McCloud is a character with big plans and great ideas throughout this delightful book. She lives with her ma and pa on a farm in Lowland County, Southern USA and discovers at an early age that she can lift off the ground and eventually by meditating on the idea of flying she can make it happen. Even beyond her flying ability she is a rare and uniquely sensitive young girl. She questions her farmer father about cow's having feelings as she clearly watches a mother cow mourn for a lost calf!
This was her plan-climb to the top of the roof, pick up speed by running from one end all the way to the other. Jump off.
Finally, and most importantly, don't fall.
She didn't make plans in the event that she did fall, because if you jump off of the roof of your house and land on your head, you really don't need any plans from that point on. Even Piper knew that. (1)
But alas life never remains in balance and Piper's flying ability is discovered by the townsfolk and she is ostracized for being so radically different from the norm. Enter her saviour -Dr. Hellion (great name), who whisks her away in a helicopter to a safe haven for kids who are "different." I.N.S.A.N.E is Dr. Hellion's school for children who are "lost" in the world because of their special abilities and Dr. Hellion runs it with a crew of minions. They've made it a very desirable place to live with special diets, comfy beds and clothing made-to-order. Piper, having been homeschooled, is thrilled to be surrounded by other children for the first time in her life.
As soon as Nurse Tolle was seated at the head of the table and Professor Mumbleby at the foot, the kids hungrily dug into their scrumptious food. It became immediately clear to Piper why mealtimes were such a high point at the facility. She had never tasted food quite so good in all her life. There must have been five different flavors she'd never experienced before in her first bite alone, and every part of her mouth sat up and sang. (108)The facility introduces a whole new cast of interesting characters and we're not always sure who is good or evil. Piper's journey is worth traveling as she discovers the truth about the institute and stays true to herself throughout. Teamwork is a huge element as many of the students need to trust their own instincts and rely on each other's unique skills. This would make a fun read-aloud for 4th-6th grade students, especially if you can do that Southern Drawl! 4/5 stars
Other spots on the web to read about Piper McCloud:
Victoria Forester's website
Kay at The Infinite Shelf's review
and another good one at
Elizabeth's blog at Swords for Fighting