Review Detail

Kids Fiction 2024
As Beautiful and Adventurous as the Cover
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
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).
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

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

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a full-color dog book unlike any other, acclaimed children’s...
Watch Over Me
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mila is used to being alone. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Her job is to keep their secrets safe. ...
City of the Plague God
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD,...
The Shadow War
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling...
The Valley and the Flood
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rose Colter is almost home, but she can't go back...
Don't Tell A Soul
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
58 Farm End: a twisted romantic crime thriller series (Book...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Beatrice Walker thought she lived in a normal world—that is...
Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A gentle metaphor for understanding and processing anxiety and sadness....
The Brass Queen
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
She knows a liar when she sees one. ...
The Final Chance
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Friends no matter what. At least that's what Beth Ann...
Wylder and the Almost Rockstar
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
How much trouble does it take to forget the boy...
Wylder and the Secret Rockstar
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
How much trouble does it take to forget your summer...
Nubia: Real One
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can you be a hero...if society doesn't see you as...
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Angsty teenager Mary Shelley is not interested in carrying on...

Latest Member Reviews

American Royals II: Majesty
 
3.7
"With her father gone, Beatrice must step into her role as queen. To do this, she has to let her..."
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
 
4.0
"Teen Mary Shelley is the many times great granddaughter of the legendary writer. Everyone in the Shelley lineage has become..."
The Obsession
 
4.7
"THE OBSESSION is a creepy and riveting YA thriller. Delilah lives with her mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend, a..."
The Project
 
4.3
"Lo Denham, magazine assistant and loner, is looking for her sister, Bea. Six years ago, Lo's parents died in a..."
The Night Circus
 
4.3
"I couldn’t begin to express how much I adore this book. This book, magically, soothed my temper and let me..."
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
"WINGS OF EBONY is a beautifully crafted YA fantasy. A year has passed since Rue's life was irrevocably changed. Her..."
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)
 
4.3
"THE GILDED ONES by Namina Forna is a YA fantasy novel and the first book in the Deathless series. The..."
Unchosen
 
5.0
"UNCHOSEN is a fantastic and completely captivating YA apocalyptic fantasy, filled with feminism, friendship, sisterhood, and romance. Charlotte is the..."
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
"IN THE PENALTY BOX is a cute YA contemporary hockey romance. Willow is a figure skater heading for the Olympics,..."
The Afterlife of the Party (Afterlife, #1)
 
4.7
"THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY is a YA vampire book for anyone who doesn't want to make out with the..."
The Alcazar (The Cerulean, #2)
 
3.0
"THE ALCAZAR wraps up an intriguing YA fantasy duology. The book continues to follow four main characters in alternating points-of-view,..."
Super Fake Love Song
 
4.0
"Super Fake Love Song is about Sunny Dae, a Korean American teenager who is a mega-nerd trying to survive at..."