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)
460   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

Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Music, Discovery, Love. Can one summer make the difference of a lifetime? Zahara is a loner. She's brilliant on the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A young sorceress's entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. She could change history. But...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Kevin_Brooks_TheBunkerDiary.jpg
This is the winner of the 2014 Cilip Carnegie Medal. Room meets Lord of the Flies,...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after...
 
3.3
 
3.3 (1)
Quake_Pulse Novel_.jpg
Fans of I Am Number Four and The Maze Runner will clamor for Quake, the climactic...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Forced to obey her master. Compelled to help her enemy. Determined to free herself. Nalia is a jinni of tremendous...
 
3.0
 
4.3 (1)
the sin eater's daughter.jpg
Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Winner of the SILVER MEDAL in the 2014 Readers' Favorite annual International Award Contest—Category YA Paranormal Romance. Ever since she...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
TheFearfulHeart 500x750.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
The heart must be protected at all costs... but will Cassidy be able to afford the price? Cassidy has distanced...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that stays with you, then tears you apart slowly at...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights Every dawn brings horror to a...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Life loves a good curveball… Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Step right up, step right up! Come see one of the most amazing, astounding, stunning, and stupendous wonders of the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Indie
Haunted by memories of the past, 16 year old Hayden Heyer (pronounced Higher) lives in a world where she feels...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This is not your average trip to Fairyland… Selkie Stewart has just saved her quasi-boyfriend, Ben, from a fairy prison...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)