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Book cover of Alexandra Hopewell, Labor Coach

Alexandra Hopewell, Labor Coach

by Dori Hillestad Butler, Wendy McClure

Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
Pages: 136
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780807502426






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Editorials

Children's Literature

Butler captures the nuances and humor of middle-grade kids in this book featuring Alex Hopewell. She also does a superior job of handling Alex's feelings, allowing the reader to empathize with her and her situation. While Alex is a bit loud and given to leaping before she looks, she works on controlling her behavior throughout the book. Her best friend, Ben, is seen as a smart boy who likes to learn and who knows he is not going to fit in with the athletic type of classmates. The balance between Alex and Ben stresses how kids who are a little different from the norm can be good. Much of the story centers on the life science projects of the class. Alex, prone to accidents, breaks all the eggs she is allowed in the project. Therefore, she has to choose another way to complete the project. Thinking she can be her mom's labor coach when her brother or sister is born proves to be a bit of a lofty aspiration. However, when faced with a tense labor situation, Alex comes through. The quick-moving tale depicts situations in which adults as well as kids learn lessons. Middle graders will come away with positive ideas about diversity. Put this book on shelves available to kids from second through fifth grade; it will be checked out over and over again. 2005, Albert Whitman and Company, Ages 8 to 11.
┬ŚNancy Garhan Attebury

School Library Journal

Gr 5-7-Alexandra, 11, struggles with a learning disability and an unpleasant teacher at school, while at home she prepares for the birth of a sibling. After having broken three eggs (representing infants) in her class's family-life project, Alex decides that witnessing her sibling's birth firsthand would be a fine replacement for the assignment and sets out to convince her parents that she is mature enough to handle the occasion. Predictably, the baby arrives early, and Alex must deliver it single-handedly, giving her a much-needed confidence boost. Although Alex is likable, most of the characterizations are uneven and the message is a bit heavy-handed. The author describes a childbirth video in blatant detail, describing the blood, mucus, and pain so accurately that it may shock or scare some readers. This book might have limited use in a parenting collection or for children with specific requests; however, suitable alternatives exist in this genre, notably the works of Ellen Conford, Betsy Byars, and Jack Gantos.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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