Monday, August 18, 2008

Jimmy's Stars by Mary Ann Rodman

Jimmy's Stars
by Mary Ann Rodman

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (April 29, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374337039
ISBN-13: 978-0374337032
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches

Jimmy's Stars is a beautiful, poignant and touching story. Eleven year old Ellie McKelvey finds out one day that her beloved brother, Jimmy, has been drafted into the war. He must report to Union Station at 6 A.M. October 2, 1943. This is the day that will change Ellie's life forever.

As young Ellie learns to deal with a house and daily life without her brother at home, she cherishes the days when a letter comes in the mail addressed to her from Jimmy and she knows that he is all right. Soon Christmas comes and goes and Jimmy does not come home, as he promised. An occasional letter still makes it's way to Ellie, as her young life is filled with the sacrifices and worries brought on by the war. Each day prayers are said that the war will come to an end and loved ones will be home safely.

Jimmy's Stars is a vivid peek into a bygone era of war and sacrifice. Mary Ann Rodman brings both the characters and the sitting to life and enables the reader to fall right within it's pages. This is a story geared toward the 9 - 12 age range, however, I think that anyone of any age would deeply enjoy this stirring work. Though this is the first story by this author that I have read, I anxiously look forward to reading more by her. I greatly enjoy her style of writing and am enormously pleased to have discovered her.

Not only do I give Jimmy's Stars my highest recommendation, I also believe that this would be a perfect book for a book club pick. Such a perfect book for young people (and adults alike) to read and discuss together. Mary Ann Rodman brings forth an engrossing story, with Jimmy's Stars, and displays a true talent to engulf young people in the treasure of reading.


Product Description:

It’s September 1943, and eleven-year-old Ellie McKelvey’s older brother, Jimmy, has just been drafted. Jimmy has a joyful heart and a kind word for everyone, and he’s the only person who thinks Ellie is smart and funny and as beautiful as Lana Turner, the movie star. Ellie can hardly stand to see him go. With Jimmy gone, Aunt Toots moves into his bedroom, Ellie’s mother takes a war job at a factory, and everything in Ellie’s life seems upside down. But she figures that the war will be over and Jimmy home by Christmas, so as much as she misses him, she keeps her spirits up. Even as families in the neighborhood begin to receive telegrams informing them that their boys are wounded or worse, Ellie never stops believing in Jimmy.

In her second work of historical fiction, Mary Ann Rodman captures all the authentic details of life on the homefront during World War II, as well as the fierce love a sister has for her beloved big brother.


About the Author:

MARY ANN RODMAN’s debut novel,Yankee Girl, was chosen as a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers and an NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. She lives with her family in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Additional works by Mary Ann Rodman:

Yankee Girl
My Best Friend
First Grade Stinks
Surprise Soup coming in Spring 2009

Click above titles to find out more information about each title and how to order.


Be sure to visit the following bloggers, also on tour for Jimmy's Stars:

01 Charger
A Childhood of Dreams
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
A Mom Speaks
All About Children's Books
Becky's Book Reviews
Book Review Maniac
By the Book Reviews
Dolce Bellezza
Fireside Musings
Homeschool Buzz
Looking Glass Reviews
Maggie Reads
Maw Books
Small World Reads
The Friendly Book Nook
The Hidden Side of a Leaf


sally apokedak

Wonderful review. Thanks. I kind of like reading reviews by people who liked this book because I also liked it. You know how it is--when you like a book, or fall in love with a character, you feel like she's a your friend and you take it personally if people critisize her. So I'm glad you liked little Ellie and her story.


sally apokedak

criticize, I mean. =0)


Sadly I turned Nona on to teen books and that's all she is wanting to read...ugh!

I'll try to see if I can locate this one and slip it!


Thanks, Sally. I loved the book and am adding others by this author to my bookshelf very very soon!

J.Kaye, I really think that Nona would enjoy this, she should give it a try, as should you. It really is an excellent book that can easily be enjoyed by YAs and Adults!


I found a copy at our library. They haven't processed them yet, but it will be soon. I let her read your review and she's interested. :) Yeah!


Awesome!! I am so thrilled. I can't wait to hear Nona's thoughts.


This book would make a GREAT grandmother/grandaughter discussion! ;)


Maggie, that would be perfect!!! I am going to suggest this book to our library and schools and may even mention the gma/daughter book discussion. Thanks!

mary downing

Mary Ann the Author here. Thank you for the wonderful review, the great responses...and especially for those of you who are going to request that your school or public library buy it. If this cuts any ice with the people holding the purse strings (and the are ever tighter at libraries these days), JIMMY'S STARS, and all the rest of my books are part of the Accelerated Reader program (I am not a fan of this program, but I know that some libraries limit their fiction purchases to AR books only. should know that Tinkerbelle is a personal logo at our house! It started with my daughter's skating coach then my daughter, and now even I, a person old enough to be Tinkerbelle's grandmother, is a Tink-t-shirt wearin' writer.
This has been so much fun for me, y'all. Sometimes, it feels as though I am writing and sendng my work off into a black hole, never knowing if people are buying or reading it unless I am doing school visit...or I get a royalty statement.
And it's also so wonderful to find others who are as passionate about childrens literature as it am.
Happy reading!