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Gina. Jamie. Father. Bear.

by George Ella Lyon

Published by A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum, 2002
135 pages
ISBN: 0-689-84370-4

Ages 12 and older

A contemporary family story intertwined with a wintry woods fairy tale from an unnamed past offers a rich tapestry of words and themes to thoughtful readers. Gina lives in Ohio, where she, her father and brother are struggling to re-define their family after her mother's departure. Jamie cares for his two sisters in an isolated stone cottage. Although separated by time and reality, both Gina and Jamie are wrestling with the same fear and uncertainty: their fathers disappear regularly, and they don't know where or why. Through alternating chapters, their parallel stories unfold, and the lines between real and magical begin to blur. Does Jamie's father actually become a bear at times, and then resume a human form? Is Gina's father in a relationship with an unknown woman? (The discovery that her pragmatic father is meeting with a psychic for consultation is more shocking to Gina than the thought of a romantic liaison.) Gina and Jamie's distinct voices and the author's poetic storytelling create a memorable short novel about the universality of family. CCBC Categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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