Sunday, September 15, 2013

Three Times Lucky

Because I work at the library, I feel under some pressure to come up with the perfect book for every family member's birthday. It can be pretty tricky, given the wide range of ages and interests. Their tastes run the gamut, from dry, historical nonfiction for my dad to Captain Underpants for my youngest nephew. Last year, the biggest hit with my tween nieces was Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. This year, the clear winner is sure to be Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

Moses (Mo) LeBeau is an 11 year old girl in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. When she was a newborn baby, Mo was set loose on a homemade raft into the rising floodwater during a hurricane and was found floating downstream. Mo is always searching for her Upstream Mother, despite having been adopted by the eccentric, but loving couple, Miss Lana and the amnesiac Colonel. Mo writes never-sent letters to her Upstream mother and she enlists friends and neighbors to release messages in glass bottles up and down the river.

The story begins when Detective Joe Starr comes into the local diner, asking questions about a recent murder in another town. When a local man winds up dead soon thereafter, the investigation really gets underway. Together with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, Mo searches for clues. With this brief synopsis, Three Times Lucky sounds like a children's mystery. However, it is so much more than just that. Sheila Turnage has created a unique and wonderful character in Mo LeBeau, and Mo's voice brings the characters in the town to life.The story is ultimately one about friendship, love and acceptance within a community. Highly recommended for all ages!


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