I love books that you think are taking you one place, but then the next thing you know, they U-turn and you end up somewhere completely different. War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories is like that. This delightful collection of short stories for middle readers begins with a piece that reminds me of the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, or even the more benign Mad Men episodes, but all of a sudden author Tim Wynne-Jones uses his slightly nostalgic (or what my youngest calls ye oldey. . . it’s a compliment!) tone to discuss climate change, anxiety, divorce and other serious topics.
Each story is bite-sized, perfect for dipping in and out of over the course of a day or two, and would be fantastic for parents and children to read together, or for a teacher to read to his or her class. (Zoom story time is going to be a thing this year, youse guys.) Featuring a mix of elements from the natural world as well as tales of good old-fashioned human nature, Wynne-Jones’ style is witty, smart, and most importantly of all, relatable.
“I looked at mine and thought about Mom’s amber brooch. Amber is sap that fossilized and sometimes something gets trapped in it, like an insect. Mom’s insect might be a million years old — maybe a hundred million years old. But a micrometeorite is a particle from the formation of the solar system and it’s over four billion years old.
We’re all just stardust, Mom likes to say.”
A writer friend of mine once explained to me that a short story shows the point of view of the author, while the novel aligns with a protagonist. If that’s so, Wynne-Jones’ perspective may well be that kids deserve realistic fiction that tackles sensitive topics with wit and intelligence. And guess what? I agree with him.
P.S. Make sure to read to the end! As someone who doesn’t write fiction, I’m fascinated to see how writers come up with their ideas, and Wynne-Jones is kind enough to share the origins of the stories in this collection.
War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Groundwood Books for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
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