Binny for Short, a new middle grade novel by author Hilary McKay, is a high-stakes read that takes place on a craggy British seashore, full of seals and fowl, threatening cliffs and frigid ocean tides. Here, kids ride bikes, ride boats and experience nature and it's relationship to human beings first hand; any child can safely experience seaside adventures, feel the sand and taste the salt water. It won a starred review in the Horn Book.
Binny for Short is an entertaining and funny novel that also carefully and appropriately evokes through sympathetic characters feelings of loss, including the loss of parents (through death and divorce) in a story full of suspense. I didn't set this book down for long.
With every page and plot point, I was convinced disaster would befall lovable Binny and every lovable friend, family member and pet in the book. The book promises and delivers a great ending.
for any writer who is concerned with language and how to craft sentences full of imagination and emotion, it is a useful read. For instance, the following takes us into the heart of a ten year old's nightmare:
Blackness, Smothering. Heavy and dark. The bedclothes twisted into shrouds. Noise all around. Whisper. Shuffle. A hard, repeated rap,rap.
Clawing, like nails against plaster or wood . . .
Another Aunty Violet nightmare.
Dead Aunty Violet keeps returning, but Binny isn't actually responsible for her mean, hated Aunt's death. McKay seems to understand that the guilty feelings of children are often not founded in reality, but imagination.
McKay is a master of the middle grade genre and Binny for Short is a must read.
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