Lindelauf, Benny Nine Open Arms, 256 pgs. Enchanted Lion Books, 2014. $16.95. (Originally published in Dutch in The Netherlands 2004) Language: PG (3 swears 0 Fs); Violence: PG; Mature Content: PG13.
When a family moves to a new house to start a cigar making factory, a huge rainstorm floods the basement and the roof leaks, they are waiting for a permit to make the cigars, Oma and their father are quarreling, and Jess's back has caused her to lay flat for weeks. The younger children are afraid that the house is cursed. Can Fing and her sisters discover “What’s the opposite of worry?” Their father tells them to try “First believing, then seeing.”
Translated from Dutch, this story incorporates some of the expressions and a lot of the culture of this story of a small community on the border of Belgium. Told in 3 sections, the 1930’s, 1860’s and back to the 1930’s, the backstory in the middle is helpful. There is a mystery element which adds some punch to the story, but overall. I don’t know if it would hold the interest of a middle school reader, too mature for elementary.
MS -- OPTIONAL Lisa Librarian