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)
475   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

  • YABC Book Haul - March 2015

    We are super excited! The March 2015 YABC Book Haul is here! Over 100 books of pure awesomeness.  This month, Clint from the Nerd Riders is hosting along with his special guest, Loki. What are your favorite titles in this month's YABC Book Haul? Let us know in the comments below ...

  • INSURGENT - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS***** Yay! It's another #YAMovieDay and this one is HUGE! YA lovers all over the world have been eagerly awaiting the big screen arrival of INSURGENT. Does it live up to the hype? Here's what the Nerd Riders think.  QUESTION: You are Divergent, but only in two Fa ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Strike by Delilah S. Dawson + Giveaway (US Only)

      Hello, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for STRIKE by Delilah S. Dawson, releasing March 2016 from Simon Pulse. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Delilah:   If you've seen the HIT cover, you know that it's utterly unique ...

  • Giveaway: Public School Superhero by James Patterson (US Only)

    PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts Illustrated by Cory Thomas In stores March 16, 2015   About the Book In this story about a good kid with a great imagination struggling in a less-than-ideal world, James Patterson brings his bestselling ...

  • An Ember in the Ashes - Character Trailer and Giveaway!

    On April 28th, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES will hit the shelves of your local bookstore. The staff at YABC are super excited about this story! Here's a peek at the synopsis:   I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.   THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL CO ...

  • CINDERELLA - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS******* Yay! It's another #YAMovieDay and The Nerd Riders, Kristin and Clint, share their thoughts on the highly anticipated Disney live action film CINDERELLA.      QUESTION: If you could ask for one thing from your Fairy Godmother, what would ...

  • Author Jodi Meadows' Top 5

    Today we welcome Jodi Meadows, author of THE ORPHAN QUEEN and the INCARNATE trilogy, to the blog. She's giving us her top five reasons why she loves fantasy. We love fantasy too (especially Jodi's new book THE ORPHAN QUEEN, which is basically Batman meets Game of Thrones with some swoon thrown in ...

  • Giveaway: City Love by Susane Colasanti (US Only)

    City Love by Susane Colasanti Release Date: April 21, 2015   About the Book Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls ...

  • Giveaway: As White As Snow by Salla Simukka (US Only)

      As White As Snow by Salla Simukka Release Date: March 3, 2015   About the Book The heat of the summer sun bakes the streets of Prague, but Lumikki’s heart is frozen solid. Looking to escape the notoriety caused by the part she played in taking down Polar Bea ...

  • Giveaway: Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves by Ann Angel & Various Authors (US & CAN Only)

      Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves Written by: Ann Angel Kerry Cohen Louise Hawes Varian Johnson erica l. kaufman Ron Koertge E. M. Kokie Chris Lynch Kekla Magoon Zoë Marriott Katy Moran J. L. Powers Mary Ann Rodman Cynthia Leitich ...

  • THE DUFF - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS***** The Nerd Riders just saw an early screening of THE DUFF and are here to give you theirYA review.  Question: Would you rather be a DUFF or the DUFF's friend?      ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin + Giveaway (US Only)

      Hi, YABCers, and welcome to today's cover reveal! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin, releasing October 6, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Ryan:   ...

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I'm Not Her that's "Just right for fans of Sarah...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins is sassier than ever in this page-turning follow up to Rebel Belle, perfect...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Order
Category: Young Adult Indie
Lana Crewe is a strong, fiercely driven seventeen year old living in a village ruled by fear. With their king...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique"...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Does it get better? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because...
 
4.0
 
3.0 (1)
Does anyone ever see us for who we really are? Jo Knowles’s revelatory novel of interlocking stories peers behind the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
It all starts with one little lie… Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of...
 
3.7 (2)
 
3.7 (1)
Category: Kids Indie
The goal of The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos series is to introduce deep human history to kids in a fun...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian. When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Ever since her mother died Aimee Pittman has dreamed of attending college in her mom’s home country of Neahovia. When...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the same vein as Gayle Forman's I Was Here comes a novel from the gifted author of Faking Normal,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This Book is Gay
A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious - for everybody, no matter...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Montecitoimage.png
Category: Young Adult Indie
Montecito, a place where generous trust funds and secrets are plentiful. This dramatic series has many twists and turns, all...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary has washed up on shore. But where? It seems to be Aquavania, the magical realm where children...
 
0.0
 
4.0 (2)
A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. Grace Blakely...
 
0.0
 
3.7 (1)
Hooking up is only the beginning of the fun in this sexy and irresistible second installment...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
NO ONE READS THE FINE PRINT. The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)