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Bayou Magic
Cover of Bayou Magic
Bayou Magic
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A magical coming-of-age story from Coretta Scott King honor author Jewell Parker Rhodes, rich with Southern folklore, friendship, family, fireflies and mermaids, plus an environmental twist.

It's city-girl Maddy's first summer in the bayou, and she just falls in love with her new surroundings - the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only she can see. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be the only sibling to carry on her family's magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero? Jewell Parker Rhodes weaves a rich tale celebrating the magic within.
A magical coming-of-age story from Coretta Scott King honor author Jewell Parker Rhodes, rich with Southern folklore, friendship, family, fireflies and mermaids, plus an environmental twist.

It's city-girl Maddy's first summer in the bayou, and she just falls in love with her new surroundings - the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only she can see. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be the only sibling to carry on her family's magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero? Jewell Parker Rhodes weaves a rich tale celebrating the magic within.
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  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    3.1
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    K - 2

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Jewell Parker Rhodes has won numerous awards for her books for adults and children. She is also the Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Fireflies and Moon Pies is her third novel for young readers.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 16, 2015
    One summer, nearly-10-year-old Maddy Johnson gets swept up in the mysteries of the Louisiana bayou. She’s the youngest of her five sisters and the last to spend a summer with her Grandmère Lavalier, hours from her family’s home in New Orleans. Quickly adapting to life in her grandmother’s wooden shack, Maddy learns about signs and healing herbs, listens to tales about her ancestors, explores the waters with a boy named Bear, meets other locals (who, like Maddy, are a “stew” of ethnic backgrounds), and thinks she sees a mermaid, the legendary Mami Wata. Grandmère’s quiet sadness about the past and worry for the future (“To be a hero, bad things have to happen,” she tells Maddy) strike notes of unsettling and suspenseful tension. Readers will be easily drawn into Rhodes’s (Sugar) heady descriptions, and as environmental disaster threatens the landscape Maddy has come to love, her heroism shines as she protects the community and recognizes her own strength. Ages 8–12. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2015
    Infused with a whimsical sense of adventure, Rhodes' latest draws life from the mystical aura of the Louisiana bayou, braiding it with threads of environmental consciousness.Madison Isabelle Lavalier Johnson lives in New Orleans with her mother, father and four older sisters. Each summer a note arrives requesting that one of the sisters come and visit their grandmother at her remote cottage in the bayou. When Grandmere's latest letter arrives with Maddy's name scrawled across it, the 10-year-old gets the shivers. Her siblings have warned of her grandmother's weirdness and the spookiness of the setting. Yet Maddy's adventure-seeking nature is drawn to the intrigue. The pace of the story is quick, while the setting and mysticism give the tale a sense of timelessness-it feels neither modern nor historical. Although the overall movement of the story is satisfying, the confluence of ideas heaped into the story can at times seem forced. Rhodes combines coming of age, friendship, aging, environmentalism and family obligation, just to name a few issues, into her bayou bouillabaisse. The effect sometimes feels muddier than the swamp. Still, an array of colorful bayou folk adds likable strangeness, while the presence of a mermaid in the family lore refreshes the waters. Adventure-seeking girls with a taste for mermaids need apply. (Magical realism. 8-12)

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from February 1, 2015

    Gr 3-6-Maddy lives with her family in New Orleans. At almost 10, she is the youngest of five girls, and this summer it will be her turn to stay with her grandmother in the bayou. Apprehensive about the visit-her sisters say Grandmere is a witch, whose house has no electricity or indoor plumbing-Maddy is also excited to discover Bon Temps. Soon, Grandmere teaches Maddy about healing herbs and their family history. When Maddy finds that she can call fireflies and see mermaids, Grandmere tells her the story of Mami Wata, the water spirit who accompanied their slave ancestors from Africa. Maddy soon comes to love the wetlands and the residents of Bon Temps, human and otherwise. So when the Gulf oil spill threatens the town, it is Maddy who must use her magic to save her new home. Some sensitive subject matter may be disturbing to younger readers-Maddy's friend has an alcoholic father who inadvertently hurts him and then later dies in the explosion. Maddy is a brave and hopeful heroine, and the descriptions of the bayou are almost as magical as her legacy. VERDICT Hand this to middle grade readers who enjoy family stories, history, and a dose of fanciful magic.-Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Jewell Parker Rhodes
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