Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.
Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact - plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.
In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.
©2012 Candy Gourlay (P)2012 Listening Library
"Contemporary Tagalong and British vernacular enhance the brother/sister narration and enliven the depiction of cultures. In her first young adult novel, Gourlay offers an appealing blend of diverse characters, emotional conflicts, well-paced action, and an upbeat finale. The challenges facing separated, immigrant families and the universal teen desire for acceptance and respect ring true." (School Library Journal)
Told in alternating chapters, this story allows us to see the world through Andi and Bernado's eyes. Andi is the half sister of Bernardo who lives in London. Andi is "laugh out loud" funny and very insightful. Andi was given her dream of being point guard on her school's basketball team only to be told that day that her family was moving her to a new school. While Andi suffers hardships, she is resilient and sweet. Bernardo is on the other side of the world in the Philippines, being raised by his loving aunt and uncle. His mother has been trying to get papers to allow him to live in London for a long time. Bernardo's life in the Philippines is happy, although he has received a curse and become a giant (8 feet tall). It just so turns out that the people in his village feel that he carries the spirit of Bernardo Carpio (a legendary giant in the Philippine mythology), who brought their village luck and fortune. Drama ensues in the village when Bernardo's papers come through to allow them to live with his family in London. Bernardo leaves but events on both ends of the globe escalate and each person learns to know and love Bernardo exactly the way he is.
Readers will enjoy elements of tall tales (which are SO forgotten these days it seems!) and they will also enjoy every character who are so purely good that this book is refreshing. I listened to the audio version and the narrators were stellar. I would advise that this book is selected here in the states for various booklists so that many more readers can enjoy the story. I work at a high school and have this on my shelves. At home, a 5th grade girl plays with my son and has asked if I can bring books home for her to read from my library. This is one that I would have no hesitation sharing with a 5th grader as well as an adult.
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