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In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Chapter Book Review: Circle of Gold by Candy Dawson Boyd

On 21, Oct 2015 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Circle of GoldCircle of Gold by Candy Dawson Boyd

Lexile: 610L

From Goodreads: After the death of Mattie’s father, her mother seems to take out her frustrations on Mattie. But Mattie devises a plan to bring her family back together again.

I really enjoyed this book, largely because it was well written. The characters were believable and likable. The dialog wasn’t stilted or dated. The problems they faced were tough, but not insurmountable and probably not unfamiliar to many kids.

Mattie believes that by buying her mom a beautiful pin for Mother’s Day, it will show how much she loves her mother and will help her mother show more affection toward her. Since her father’s death, Mattie feels like there is a growing gap between herself and her mother and that her mother is unfairly harsh with her. In a lot of ways Mattie is correct, but she doesn’t understand that it all comes from a deep place of grief and that her mother needs help. The whole idea of the jewelry as a fix for their problems is both sweet, heartbreaking, and clearly not going to work the way Mattie hopes.

Probably the best part of the book was the fact that, while things are still tough in the end, there is a hopeful ending. I think I’m beginning to jump on the enough-with-the-sad-books-already bandwagon. I know there are a lot of sad kids out there and I get why they may want to read sad books, but they may also want to read happy ones as well. By the end of Circle of Gold, Mattie has learned a lesson about honesty, she has seen a bully for what she is, and her mother is getting professional help to cope with the loss of her husband and all the complications that have come with that.

I can certainly see handing it to kids who like books with a touch of melodrama. I can see kids who like relationship books, particularly friendship and family, enjoying it. But it’s still going to be a hard sell. The options for covers are pretty terrible and it just has a slightly dated feel- like putting something on lay away at a department store, do kids even know about that? I suspect the kids in my school don’t. I think I’ll hold off buying a copy until I week our beginning chapter books section and see what’s left.


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