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list price: $19
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
published: Jul 2007
ISBN:9780374315535

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane

by Polly Horvath

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orphans & foster homes
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $19
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
published: Jul 2007
ISBN:9780374315535
Description

When an accident leaves teenage cousins Meline and Jocelyn parentless, they come to live with their unknown and eccentric Uncle Marten on his private island. They soon discover that the island has a history as tragic as their own: it was once an air force training camp, led by a mad commander whose crazed plan to train pilots to fly airplanes without instruments sent eleven pilots to their deaths. Jocelyn, Meline, and Uncle Marten are soon joined on this island of wrecked planes and wreckedmen by an elderly Austrian housekeeper, a very mysterious butler, a cat, and a dog. But to Jocelyn and Meline, being in a strange new place around strange new people only underscores the fact that the world they once knew has ended.
 
Told in the alternating voices of four characters dealing with grief in different ways, Polly Horvath’s new novel is a rich and complicated story about loss and the possibility— and impossibility—of beginning again. The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Contributor Notes

Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, includingEverything on a Waffle,The Pepins and Their Problems,The Canning Season andThe Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the International White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
14 to 100
Grade:
p to 17
Reading age:
0
Awards
  • , Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
Editorial Review

"Horvath's exploration of the nuances of grief is pitch perfect."Booklist "Richly idiosyncratic writings."Booklist "A gripping, chilling tale perfect for leisure readers who demand action and insight"—Children's Bookwatch “Readers will sink deeply into the story.”Kirkus Reviews "A remarkable examination of the extremes of emotional distress."The HornBook "Horvath is a gifted writer."School Library Journal "Horvath's prose has rarely been more incisive:  she understands the workings of grief and conveys them with uncanny accuracy and sympathy."Publishers Weekly "This haunting story is balanced with the author's usual detached and quirky humor . . . Taut and weird and sad and funny."The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books "An engaging story."—Library Media Connection

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Corps of the Bare Boned Planes

In the blink of an eye, teenage cousins Meline and Jocelyn find themselves orphaned, and on their way to live with a mysterious and eccentric uncle on an isolated island in BC. As they drift through the weeks and months that seem to pass without notice on the island, a host of other equally mysterious and eccentric characters drift onto the island, which becomes a sort of refuge from their difficulties.

Author Polly Horvath does an excellent job giving a unique voice to each of the four central characters, as they clean up their personal wreckage and the wreckage on the island. The dominant narrator is 15-year-old Meline, who is perhaps the most observant of the characters, but desperately tries to avoid thinking about the train wreck which killed her parents, and upset her existence. Jocelyn, the elder of the two by a few months, is more reserved and introspective, but is haunted by death and grief. Uncle Marten, a classic absent minded type, is deliberately oblivious and self-involved. The fourth voice belongs to the housekeeper Mrs. Mendelbaum, who avoids her own problems by meddling in those of the others. Interspersed with Yiddish expressions (defined by a glossary at the back), Mrs. Mendelbaum’s observations are blunt and insightful, but her own portrait is defined by the observations of others, and not her own. Added to the mix, is a mysterious butler named Humdinger, whose story is told through the narratives of others.

What the narratives all have in common is a sense of murkiness, allowing the reader small glimpses of what is beneath the surface, while requiring them to ask questions and draw their own inferences, filling in the puzzle pieces until the final picture is revealed. Overall, this is an engaging and thought provoking read, and fans of Horvath’s other work will not be disappointed.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2008. Vol.31 No.1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane

Following the death of their parents, cousins Jocelyn and Meline go to live with their eccentric uncle, with only a crazy Holocaust-survivor housekeeper and a mysterious butler for company. Told in four characters’ voices, this story is a moving meditation on loss and finding family in unlikely places.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

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