Gr 4-7--August (Auggie) Pullman considers himself just a normal ten-year-old kid. But to everyone else, he is definitely different, the tragic victim of a one-in-a-billion birth defect. After years of homeschooling, he will be attending fifth grade in a pubic school and he thinks he knows what to expect, and he's terrified. Auggie he refuses to let his facial deformity garner sympathy. The boy discovers that other people can surprise you, and that everyone is capable of defying expectations, including himself. The superb narration by Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and most especially, Diana Steele as Auggie, takes Palacio's poignant writing (Knopf, 2012) to the next level. The story is shared between Auggie and the family members and friends who surround him. Each voice adds another layer to what is, at heart, a simple tale about kindness. Listeners will discover both the humor and the heartache of being different, and how one person can truly touch many lives.-- Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY[Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 3-6--Palacio revisits Julian, the most disliked character from her debut novel, Wonder (Knopf, 2012). When Auggie Pullman first entered Beecher Prep, Julian was one of the students chosen to help him navigate the new school. Instead, Julian went out of his way to make life miserable for Auggie. But why? Was he just a bully or was there something else going on? And did he ever feel bad about his actions? Although it starts off predictably enough, Julian's story is full of surprises that emphasize the overall theme of compassion, not only for the victim, but also for the bully. Children will learn an important lesson about walking in another's footsteps when they discover what really motivates Julian's actions. Listeners may want to reread Wonder to refresh their memories. The narration by Michael Chamberlain is exceptional in capturing the whiny angst and defiance of a preteen child, while also managing to inject convincing notes of sincerity where appropriate. Schools who already have the first book will definitely want to add this follow-up to their collections, as it and Wonder are excellent character education resources for students and teachers.--Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY[Page 63]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.