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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Lizzie Bright

Who better to review a novel written for young people than an honest-to-goodness kid? So we asked 11-year old correspondent Sarah Burke to review the copy of this new book we received from Clarion Press. It takes place on the Seacoast in nearby Maine. Sarah is a big reader and her complete review follows.



Reviewed by Sarah Burke, age 11

Lizzie Bright is a great children’s book for kids around the ages of 10-14 for many reasons. For one, it is very realistic; it reflects true events that can happen. It’s also so descriptive it is able to plant a clear picture in your head of the setting, feelings, and other things that make up this story. Not to mention how great of a movie it would make!

Lizzie BrightLizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is about Turner Buckminster, a boy who has just moved from Boston, Massachusetts to Phippsburg, Maine where nothing there is the same. His first adventures involve being teased for being a minister’s son and getting in lots of trouble for things that were simple misunderstandings. He cannot find anything good about Phippsburg, that is, until he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, an African-American girl that lives on nearby (poor) Malaga Island. Lizzie shows Turner how to do just about everything Maine-style. But when the people of Phippsburg want to destroy Malaga, who will Turner stand with? His friend and what is fair, or his father and the town of Phippsburg? In a fight to claim Malaga, Turner and Lizzie are caught in a series of disasters that will change all that they know.

As you might have been able to tell from this summary, the events in this story are very realistic. Malaga is an island that had been destroyed and made into a hotel by the people of Phippsburg in 1912. I think it reflects our own lives in saying that not everything will always be the ways you want it to be. Not everyone’s life is going to be a perfectly happy ending. This book certainly doesn’t have one.

To go along with how realistic it is, it’s also very descriptive. Even though I’ve never been to Phippsburg I have a good idea of what it looked like in 1912 because of the description. Everything seemed so real and I was never confused like I am with other books. In other books the places seemed to keep changing what they looked like and didn’t make sense.

There’s one more thing about the book that ties in with everything I’ve said; it would make a great movie! For the longest time I have been going over in my head scenes for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (if it became a movie). I am telling everyone who reads this, I what to see Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy on the big screen!

So I hope I have made my point to everyone about how great this book is! To everyone who has the power to do this, I would love to see the movie Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy in theaters!!! Even if it stays a book, I am just glad that Gary D. Schmidt wrote it! You won’t be sorry you read it!

Review by Sarah Burke copyright 2004 All rights reserved.
READ: More writing by Sarah Burke
VISIT: Our Black History section


Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
By Gary D. Schmidt
Clarion Books
ISBN: 0618439293; $15.00
Juvenile Fiction / History
Hardcover; 224 pages. $15

From the Publisher:
It only takes a few hours for Turner Buckminster to start hating Phippsburg, Maine. No one in town will let him forget that he's a minister's son, even if he doesn't act like one. But then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl from a poor nearby island community founded by former slaves. Despite his father's-and the town's-disapproval of their friendship, Turner spends time with Lizzie, and it opens up a whole new world to him, filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine's rocky coast. The two soon discover that the town elders, along with Turner's father, want to force the people to leave Lizzie's island so that Phippsburg can start a lucrative tourist trade there. Turner gets caught up in a spiral of disasters that alter his life-but also lead him to new levels of acceptance and maturity. This sensitively written historical novel, based on the true story of a community's destruction, highlights a unique friendship during a time of change.

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