Joplin, Wishing

272p. HarperCollins. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062423702.
Gr 4–6—Stanley's latest novel juxtaposes the life of Joplin, a somewhat privileged fifth grader living in present-day New York City, with magic and alchemy from the mid-17th century. Joplin's reclusive and famous grandfather has just died, and she and her family are dealing with notoriety and paparazzi. Joplin is painfully attacked by thoughtless classmates as a result. The pieces of an old Delft platter depicting a young girl from long ago is her chosen souvenir from her grandfather. Joplin wishes she could have a real friend, and the very next day a boy named Barrett befriends her—and the girl depicted on the platter, Sophie, comes to life. Sophie, like a genie in a bottle, is forced to grant wishes for the owner of the platter for all time. Joplin and Barrett vow to help free Sophie from the curse. The idea of casual wishing is examined thoughtfully. Stanley also addresses the cruelty of several classmates and the inability of trusted teachers to respond appropriately. The many threads of the plot unite into a satisfying if predictable ending.
VERDICT A charming tale that is neither frothy nor profound.

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