title: Bridge to Terabithia
author: Katherine Paterson
genre: Fiction, childhood, imagination, growing up, facing fears
date read: April 2nd
review: 5 of 5 stars
summary: Jess Aarons is a country boy who dreams of being the fastest runner at his elementary school. So when Leslie Burke comes to town and steals his thunder, he doesn’t have warm feelings towards her at first. As he observes the way the other children ignore or make fun of her, he starts to befriend her and discovers his best friend. Together they explore the woods nearby and create a magical kingdom where they are the rulers. Despite the flak he gets from his family and school mates about his girl friend, he treasures their friendship and finds a courage in Leslie that he himself seems to lack.
personal thoughts: Paterson really knows how to capture the beauty and tragedy of growing up. Jess and Leslie are believable 10-year olds, expressing the joys and fears of children that age. Told in Jess’ third-person perspective, Paterson shows Jess’ frustration at being the only boy in the family (besides his father) and how unfair his life is at home. As he and Leslie escape into their imagination, I can remember doing the same thing at that age. As a children’s story it’s a quick read, but I found that the subject matter was mature and not too deep to overwhelm the children who read it.
“So the students of Lark Creek Elementary sat at their desks all Friday, their hearts thumping with anticipation as they listened to the joyful pandemonium pouring out from the teachers’ room, spent their allotted half hours with Miss Edmunds under the spell of her wild beauty and in the snare of her enthusiasms. . .” p. 13, 14
“The boys quivered on the edges of their seats like moths fighting to be free of cocoons.” p. 24
“this was where he would choose to be – here where the dogwood and redbud played hide and seek between the oaks and evergreens, and the sun flung itself in golden streams through the trees to splash warmly at their feet.” p. 39
“How could he explain it in a way Leslie would understand, how he yearned to reach out and capture the quivering life about him and how when he tried, it slipped past his fingertips, leaving a dry fossil upon the page?” p. 40
“Sometimes like the Barbie doll you need to give people something that’s for them, not just something that makes you feel good giving it.” p. 125