Monday, April 5, 2010

How High the Moon ~ Sandra Kring review

How High the Moon
368 Pages
April 6, 2010 (tomorrow!)
Buy from Amazon
(and Target has it as a 'Target Breakout Book selection' so it should be in Targets too)

How High the Moon is about a little girl so lovable, so endearing right from the word go, that you think there has to be some fault to the book given that a large part of why 'Teaspoon' is how she is, is because she's been abandoned by her mother. But, of course, little girls aren't left by their mothers through any fault of their own and that's why How High the Moon is so brilliant--and why Teaspoon is so brilliant.

Ten-year-old Isabella 'Teaspoon' Marlene has been raised by her mother's boyfriend for the last five years ever since her mother ran off to chase her dream of becoming a star. Now, Teaspoon (from whose point of view the story is told)is in danger of not passing fifth grade and full of afflictions like saying ain't, singing all of the time-she wants to be a star, too-and getting in fist fights. Her teacher, sure her troubles are the result of a 'lack of feminine influence' in her life sign her up for the Sunshine Sisters program that pairs upstanding teen girls with more troubled younger girls.

And that's how the second character, Mill Town's Sweetheart, Brenda Bloom is brought in--as Teaspoon's Big Sister. Then, of course, there's the question of whether her mother's going to stay gone.

I haven't read any of Sandra Kring's books before, though I have seen them, loved the covers and thought about it, so I'm pretty much overjoyed to have gotten this book from Goodreads First Reads. Set in 1955 and told by a ten-year-old, I was a little worried about this to be honest (it sounded cute but then I wasn't completely sure)--but then I loved it.

There was an amazing assortment of characters (Teaspoon, Teddy, Brenda, Charlie, The Jacksons, and quite a few more) that all had their own purpose within the story and progressed things. I'll admit to having some trouble keeping some of the Jackson kids straight because there were quite a few with same letter names, but that's about all. And all of the characters seemed to fit within the period but were also entertaining and fun to read about in a modern book.

And I thought the story being told from Teaspoon's view was done really well. It didn't feel juvenile even though it was being told by a child, or too young for teens or adults to enjoy but it also didn't feel too grown up to fit with her. There was that childhood innocence and naivete that kept her lovable and cute and endearing but also brought back memories of when you were ten and didn't quite know what all the adults were talking about. It also worked well to have the kids overhearing conversations because elements of the plot were brought in that there was no other reason for her to know about, but that the reader could then know about.

The relationships between Teddy and Teaspoon, Charlie and Teaspoon, and Brenda and Teaspoon were all strong in their own right and developed well and allowed you to care about all of the characters. And her relationship with her mother (or what she's keeping in her head, too) was also...I want to say bittersweet.

And a good bit of it's set in this fantastic movie theatre with stars on the ceiling...and now I want to have a movie theatre like that.

It wasn't the least predictable book ever (but it didn't need to be) but there were also some parts that were really, really not predictable and it really has a whallop of an ending. One part of the ending of this book made me cry, actually.

I think How High the Moon is a book the sort of book that a lot of other books are trying to be, one with characters you can really love, a story you won't forget, and a great conclusion. I know I'm recommending this to a lot of people (and not just on here).
Though this is not a YA book, I see very little if not nothing at all stopping YA readers from reading it.


thank you to Goodreads First Reads program for this book

And I've corrected the character name now, I have no idea what I was thinking!!!!!!


  1. @ Maria

    IT IS!! I have no idea what I was doing/thinking. And I checked the review, was one of those things that my head got switched and kept switched apparently...big OOPS! :( But thank you for letting me know.


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