May 10, 2007

Locking Down the Sledding Hill

EVERYBODY knows Lucy Moon. She's that girl who wears a red bandanna during hunting season -- to protest animal cruelty. She's that girl who wears the green and yellow hemp hat to school every day to protest the sweatshop working conditions of third world working people -- and don't ask her to take it off or tell her it's ugly -- she'll give you the whole spiel. She's that girl who has a big mouth and is always talking about injustice and How To Save the World. So it stands to reason that when Miss Wiggins' prime sledding hill in town is closed and fenced as private property and students are arrested for sledding -- and the local newspaper doesn't even run the story!! -- that That Girl, Lucy Moon would be the one leading the charge to break the news and to protest that Miss Wiggins open her sledding hill again. And yeah, okay, she is the one leading the protest. But when her Dad -- who is kind of a rule-making kind of guy, especially since her Mom's gone off on one of her artistic-photography trips -- says no, she stops. She's obedient, even if she's muttering under her breath.

So, how come protests are still going? How come postcards are still arriving in the mail at the home of the offending Miss Wiggins, signed with Lucy's name, if she's not sending them? Why is everything still going wrong when Lucy had promised herself that she'd keep her head down and just hang loose 'til her Mom got home? And when is her Mom coming home?!

What's going on? Is it that all of the people who knew her from elementary school thinks she's just a loser activist, now that they're in Junior High? Lucy's friends are baffling and baffled. She is worried and scared. If only her mother would come home... wouldn't that make everything better?

Everything is spinning out of control, as Lucy is unfairly persecuted -- sent to the principal's office, deprived of her hat, deprived of her voice, and scapegoated as a "bad influence" on the kids in town. Her crush, Sam, doesn't even speak to her anymore, and Lucy is soon so depressed that she doesn't care. What's the point, she wonders? Her mother doesn't even want to come home and be a mother anymore? What's the point of Lucy Moon going on at all?

This poignant, fast-paced and important story encourages readers to use their voices and be true to themselves. A great read with an original character that I hope to see again!

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