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September 21, 2008

Project Mulberry

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Project Mulberry

Author: Linda Sue Park

Page Length: 217

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Julia and her best friend Patrick are in The Wiggle Club after school. The Wiggle Club teaches them about farming and animal care. Since, Patrick and Julia are hoping to win first prize at the state fair, they have to come up with a great project idea. The two decide to raise silkworms even though they both have secret reasons for not wanting to – neither one tells the other. They discover that raising silkworms is more challenging than it seemed. Through the adventure, they make new friends, overcome prejudices, and learn more about themselves and each other along the way. Can they pull the project together in time to win at the fair?

REVIEW: This story was entertaining and informative about agricultural pursuits and appreciation for the struggles of the American farmer. In addition, the story is eye-opening about prejudice everywhere – the elderly African-American gentlemen assumes the girl is white and then we he meets her, mistakes Korean for Chinese. The mother is portrayed as being prejudiced against black people. The kids overcome all of the barriers and simply see people for who they are.

The story might be more interesting to junior high and 6th grade students as it lacks typical teen appeal.

An interesting aspect of this book is that in between the chapters the author dialogues with the main character. These chats teach the reader about the writing process and how Park developed her characters and allowed the story to evolve along the way.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: main idea, author’s purpose, making predictions, cause and effect, chronological ordering, theme, plot, setting, characters

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: racial tensions and prejudice

RELATED BOOKS: A Single Shard, The Archer’s Quest, Keeping Score, The Kite Fighters, Click, Seesaw Girl


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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