Books Kids Fiction Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green

Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/ea/0c/ae/_here-where-the-sunbeams-are-green-helen-phillips-1347479672.jpg
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
276   0
Age Range
10+
Release Date
November 13, 2012
ISBN
9780375990564
Buy This Book
      
Mad's dad is the Bird Guy. He'll go anywhere to study birds. So when he's offered a bird-tracking job in Central America, his bags are packed and he's jungle bound.

But going bird tracking in the jungle and disappearing completely are very different things, and when the Very Strange and Incredibly Creepy Letter arrives, Mad can't shake the terrible feeling that her father is in trouble.

Roo, Mad's younger sister, is convinced that the letter is a coded message. And their mom is worried, because the letter doesn't sound like Dad at all. But Mad is sure it's a sign of something sinister.

The only way to get to the bottom of it is to go to Lava Bird Volcano and find their dad themselves. Though they never could have imagined what they're about to discover.

From new talent Helen Phillips, Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green is the story of what can happen when two sisters make some unusual friends, trust in each other, and bravely face a jungle of trouble all to bring their family back together.

Editor reviews

What I Loved:
For those who like to indulge wanderlust with fiction, Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green is a real treat. Set in the jungles of Central America, the descriptions are as lush and verdant as the landscape being described. Phillips captures both the beauty and the danger inherent in such a setting, from the poisonous bright-colored tree frogs to the daily monsoon-like rains. The descriptions bring this Central American jungle to life.

Using this setting, Phillips conveys important messages about modern society's treatment of the environment and extinction of natural species. In Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green, the two young heroines and Kyle, a new (cute) friend, team up to save a species of bird, the Lava-Throated Volcano Trogon, from final extinction. A Lazarus species, the LTVTs were already thought extinct once, but now they are being hunted to death for sinister purposes, and, for some reason, their father, a bird expert and lover, is involved. Phillips manages to get her environmental messages across organically, without any preaching.

My very favorite aspect of the story is the dose of magical realism that Helen Phillips added into the mix. La Lava, the plush resort Madeline and Ruby's father works for, is located next to an active volcano, one not believed to blow for another hundred years. However, this volcano's explosive tendencies correlate with the health of the LTVTs. If they die out, the volcano will explode. There are also these giant flowers that can be used as umbrellas if you push the right spot, and glowing mushrooms. These little magical touches really brought the story to life, adding a cinematic touch that middle graders will love.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Mad makes a rather unique heroine. Middle grade MCs tend to be funny and plucky kids, adventurous and brave. Mad, on the other hand, fears pretty much everything and envies the confidence and talents of her younger sister. Mad's jealousy of Roo does wear a bit thin, but I was so happy when Mad finally realized her own strengths. Roo does seem a little bit too magical and clever, though, so Mad's inferiority complex does make a bit of sense. For example, Roo picks up Spanish in just a couple days.

The plot follows pretty standard middle grade lines. Ruby and Mad's parents, while ordinarily loving and pleasant, have been made to act not like themselves. To restore their parents, Roo and Mad have to complete a quest, using ingenuity and determination. Along the way, Roo has a first crush. It's all very cute and empowering, if not anything out of the ordinary.

The Final Verdict:
Helen Phillips transports you to another place and takes you on a journey through the jungles. Her skill at description and timely message make Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green a wonderful choice for middle grade readers (and older ones too).
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

As Beautiful and Adventurous as the Cover

What I Loved:
For those who like to indulge wanderlust with fiction, Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green is a real treat. Set in the jungles of Central America, the descriptions are as lush and verdant as the landscape being described. Phillips captures both the beauty and the danger inherent in such a setting, from the poisonous bright-colored tree frogs to the daily monsoon-like rains. The descriptions bring this Central American jungle to life.

Using this setting, Phillips conveys important messages about modern society's treatment of the environment and extinction of natural species. In Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green, the two young heroines and Kyle, a new (cute) friend, team up to save a species of bird, the Lava-Throated Volcano Trogon, from final extinction. A Lazarus species, the LTVTs were already thought extinct once, but now they are being hunted to death for sinister purposes, and, for some reason, their father, a bird expert and lover, is involved. Phillips manages to get her environmental messages across organically, without any preaching.

My very favorite aspect of the story is the dose of magical realism that Helen Phillips added into the mix. La Lava, the plush resort Madeline and Ruby's father works for, is located next to an active volcano, one not believed to blow for another hundred years. However, this volcano's explosive tendencies correlate with the health of the LTVTs. If they die out, the volcano will explode. There are also these giant flowers that can be used as umbrellas if you push the right spot, and glowing mushrooms. These little magical touches really brought the story to life, adding a cinematic touch that middle graders will love.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Mad makes a rather unique heroine. Middle grade MCs tend to be funny and plucky kids, adventurous and brave. Mad, on the other hand, fears pretty much everything and envies the confidence and talents of her younger sister. Mad's jealousy of Roo does wear a bit thin, but I was so happy when Mad finally realized her own strengths. Roo does seem a little bit too magical and clever, though, so Mad's inferiority complex does make a bit of sense. For example, Roo picks up Spanish in just a couple days.

The plot follows pretty standard middle grade lines. Ruby and Mad's parents, while ordinarily loving and pleasant, have been made to act not like themselves. To restore their parents, Roo and Mad have to complete a quest, using ingenuity and determination. Along the way, Roo has a first crush. It's all very cute and empowering, if not anything out of the ordinary.

The Final Verdict:
Helen Phillips transports you to another place and takes you on a journey through the jungles. Her skill at description and timely message make Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green a wonderful choice for middle grade readers (and older ones too).

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.

Already have an account? or Create an account
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

The Forbidden Library.jpg
Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy When...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Road Roash.jpg
A teenage drummer finds out what life is really like on tour with a rock band in this funny, funky,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
A voyage through Jewish history from Biblical times to today, helping the reader explore Jewish identity and traditions of social...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Life's What You Make It
Category: Young Adult Indie
“She’s everything I’m not and everything I want to be.” Sebastian Iron’s life is spiraling out of control. Over...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
When her younger brother becomes victim to Ridgeview High’s worst group of bullies, Peyton Greene sets out to hire the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lucian “Lucky” Spark leads a double life. By day, he trains to become one of the Establishment elite. At night,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Readers of I Am Number Four, The Maze Runner, and Legend will love this sophisticated adventure series by the cocreator...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Meet Layla McKelland: Novelist (unpublished, but cut her some slack…seventeen is a bit early to despair), Slightly neurotic introvert (Alright,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Nonfiction
The skinny on itty bitty kitties, from a real-life Kitten Wrangler! What do kittens eat? Why do they love to...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sometimes finding love means taking the scenic route ... Living with her faultfinding mother has taught Leslie not to ask...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor. Owen lives in the basement. It's fitting, then, that they meet in the...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Nebula Cover
Category: Young Adult Indie
"I don't know where I came from. I don't know where I'm going. What I do know is where I'd...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The heroine of Where I Belong is back in The Art of Goodbye, a romantic digital original novella about first...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Blakely is an every day girl until news arrives that she is the daughter of the world's hottest couple. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Heists were only the beginning. Gray Weathersby escaped from the primitive town of Claysoot expecting to find answers,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Snow has been falling on the Caribbean island of St. Michael for years, diminishing plant and animal life and leading...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)