Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Harper Entertainment, 1977
Fiction (Children's); 191 pgs

Completed: 11/12/2007
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: Ba-room, ba-room, ba-room, baripity, baripity, baripity, baripity—Good.

Reason for Reading: Kris' and Booklogged's reviews of this book spurred me on to finally pick this one up. My husband’s assurance that I would like it was the added encouragement I needed. This is my final selection for the Book to Movie Challenge, my second for the 2nds Challenge, and my fourth for the Saturday Review of Books Challenge.

Comments: It has been many years since I last cracked open a book by Katherine Paterson. Jacob, Have I Loved was one of my favorites growing up (I still have my copy sitting on the shelf today). I had heard of Bridge to Terabithia later in my life but never realized it was by the same author as that childhood favorite until recently.

Ten-year-old Jesse Aarons spent the summer before his 5th grade year practicing running. He is determined to be the fastest runner, not only in his class but of the entire lower grades. He wants to be known as more than just the boy who likes to draw, something most of the people in his life, including many of the grown ups do not take seriously. He comes from a somewhat poor family, one that struggles and survives as best they can. He is the only boy among many sisters and often feels that he carries the brunt of the household responsibilities as a result.

One day while he is out running, he meets the new girl in town, Leslie Burke. Her family moved to the country from the suburbs, seeking out a more simple life. The fact that Leslie’s family has money as well as Leslie’s manner and dress mark her as an instant outsider. The two inevitably become friends, each finding in the other something that they had been longing for. One fall day, the two friends venture into the woods and invent a magical kingdom they call Terabithia, letting their imaginations soar. It is a place where they can escape the real world and do just about anything they set their imaginations to.

When tragedy strikes, I could not stop the tears from falling. The story, while sad, still remains hopeful. It is a simple story, uncomplicated, and very much one for children. I can see why so many, young and old, love this book. It is a story of friendship and love, of imagination and stepping outside of oneself and taking risks. The magic of this book can be found in the hearts of the characters.

Favorite Parts: My favorite part was when Jess stood up to Gary the first day of the races. Although his intentions may not have been pure, his inclusion of Leslie was a shining moment, and the beginning of a friendship.

I was also very proud of Jess and the way he worked out his gift giving priorities that year for the Christmas holiday. He only had a dollar to spend, but his gift choices were perfect and he made two deserving girls very happy.

Swing by the author's website for more information about her and her books.

19 comments:

  1. I was also proud of Jess at that moment. One of my favourite things about this book was how real the characters, especially Jess, felt, and how well their development was portrayed.

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  2. I still haven't gotten around to reading this yet! Nor have I seen the movie. I will eventually especially since it's a Newbery winner but I just haven't had the time lately.

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  3. This book has been a staple of high school reading lists here for years. Deservedly so.

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  4. Nymeth - Jess was a great kid. I wish there were more like him out there.

    Ladytink - I understand about time constraints. :-) So many books, so little time. I hope to see the movie one of these days.

    Julie - I can understand why. :-)

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  5. Hi Wendy, now I'll never stop buying books... I gotta have this one!!

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  6. I won't even say I told you so...

    I'm thrilled you liked it and I love that Jesse realizes he needs to turn Terabithia over to his sister.

    Glad you weren't disappointed.

    cjh

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  7. Alice - Haha I know the feeling!

    CJ - It's okay. You can tell me you told me so. ;-) I loved the ending too. Jesse was such a sweetheart. Why can't more kids be like him?

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  8. This is one of those books that is a joy to teach. I have had some of my best discussions with fourth graders after finishing this one. I've read it many times, and still cry at the end.

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  9. BookGal - I can see why. It seems like it would be a perfect book for that age group. :-)

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  10. I just read it myself for the first time here recently. Loved it! Although I bawled like crazy at the end.

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  11. I enjoyed this book too. After seeing all the ads for the movie I was expecting a fantasy novel with little fairy people or something. I liked it better this way. Happy reading.

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  12. I just recently read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was not at all what I expected after seeing the movie trailers. It was great reliving the experience through your review.

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  13. I have wanted to read this for so long. As I did not get it anywhere in India, I think I will try mooching it!

    Great review!

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  14. I loved this book!! I read it last month, and although I had seen the movie (which really was great!) I still cried through a lot of it!!

    Great review!

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  15. Carrie - I cried at the end too--and several other places throughout. :-)

    Sarala - At first I was expecting a fantasy too. I actually discovered through blog reviews that it wasn't at all a fantasy. I am relieved I found that out in advance or else I would have been disappointed. Not to say this wasn't a great book anyway--it was, of course. I just like to know what I'm in for--at least in terms of genre.

    Framed - The movie trailers were misleading, weren't they? I hope to get the movie in the next week or so and watch it.

    Gautami - I hope you can find a copy!

    Stephanie - I'll probably be crying when I watch the movie too. :-) I bet I'd cry if I reread the book. LOL I can be such a cry baby when it comes to movies and books. It's pathetic.

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  16. I actually just saw this movie a couple of days ago (one of my first Netflix picks, lol) I really enjoyed it and found the ending to be very heart-wrenching, yet heart-warming at the same time. I may have to see if I can pick up this book somewhere and compare it to the movie version.

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  17. I really anjoyed the book and the film. I am hoping to put the film on my christmas list :) It was a beautiful story of friendship and I love the way the film expanded on the ideas described in the book.

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  18. I've seen the movie and enjoyed it although it wasn't what I was expecting. I'll be reading the book in 2008 for 888, My Personal Banned Books Challenge and Newbery Project. I've added this to the Book to Movie listing.

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  19. April - I've heard wonderful things about the movie. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Rhinoa - I'm excited about seeing the movie finally. I am glad you enjoyed it!

    Callista - I hope you will enjoy the book when you do read it. :-)

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