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Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


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On the Road to Mr. Mineo's PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• As young and old join in the search, an elusive pigeon keeps a small South Carolina town on its toes!
• The action is seen from the perspective of several different characters.
• It is one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year and also won the Parents Choice Silver Award for 2012 .
• Check out Barbara O'Connor's great teaching guide.
Sweet Book Summary:
Like the summer days that Barbara O'Connor describes in On the Road to Mr. Mineo's, her words are smooth and effortless. The language is descriptive, but not too flowery, and both the sentences and chapters are short and to the point. The action is limited and the adventure is subtle. While it gives off a subdued and carefree vibe, there are ripples of tension and anticipation that occasionally rise to the surface. Readers will get through this book quickly, but the characters and the story will stay with them far longer.

Stella and Gerald are neighbors at that age where boys and girls can still be friends. Stella has the stronger personality, and she drags shy, plump Gerald into situations he would rather avoid. She spots a one-legged pigeon and is determined to have him for a pet. Poor Gerald feels he has no choice but to go along with her plan. Stella and Gerald aren't the only ones who are intrigued by this pigeon. Stella's brother, Levi, and his crew of bullies want it, and so does Mutt Raynard, the town misfit. Little do they know, they're searching for Sherman, Mr. Mineo's lost pigeon. Sherman also becomes a distraction for a lost dog, an older couple Amos and Ethel, who usually spend their days arguing, and for friends Luther and Edsel, who usually spend their days lazing in front of Luther's restaurant.

These characters, including the adults, don't seem to have much responsibility or direction, which is probably why a mysterious one-legged pigeon suddenly plays such a significant role in their lives. They're somewhat quirky and very authentic, and they will draw readers into their little town in South Carolina and make them forget the world around them. And, isn't that what books are meant to do?
Author: Barbara O'Connor Illustrator: n/a Published: 2012, 192 pages
Themes: Adventure, Bullying, Community, Friendship, Self-Awareness/Discovery, Siblings
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Would you want to be friends with Stella? Why or why not?
• Describe Stella's friendship with Gerald?
• Why is everyone captivated by this one-legged pigeon?
• What does the pigeon represent to each person searching for it?
• Why does Gerald go along with Stella's plans?
• Who are the bullies in this story? How do they bully others?
• What do you imagine that the pigeon is thinking?
• Why do the dog and pigeon seem to have a bond?
• Do you think this story is realistic? Could it happen in your town?
• Were you satisfied with the way things were resolved in the end?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Touch Blue, Cynthia Lord
The Upside of Ordinary, Susan Lubner
Wringer, Jerry Spinelli
This recommendation was written by: Melissa G.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

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