Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

Lucy is a young photographer. So is her father. When she learns that her dad will be judging a national photo scavenger hunt in which kids submit pictures inspired by a specific list of words and phrases, Lucy decides to enter. They've just moved to an old house in a new town. After her father leaves town for a work trip, and while her mom, a computer programmer, works from home, Lucy spends the summer exploring New Hampshire and snapping pictures of the land, the animals (including her dog Ansel), and her neighbors. Next door is Nate, his older sister, Emily, his parents, his aunt, his cousins, and his grandma. They introduce Lucy to the loons that live on the lake. Grandma Lilah can't go out on the lake anymore, so she makes sure the kids report on all things loon-related whenever there's a sighting. The kids do their best to protect the birds from a distance, respecting their space and protecting their land.

When you share an interest with someone else in your family, you might find it comforting - or competitive. Lucy wants to be a photographer in her own right and make her dad proud. By entering the contest under another name, she hopes her portfolio will impress her father, that he will appreciate it not because they are related, but because she has a good eye and good instincts. Lucy loves taking photos, but she's not sure if she's any good. Like many of us, she's her own worst critic. She tries her hardest to take interesting, unique pictures that fit the contest's requirements, but often, the candid moments she captures are better than the shots she carefully planned out. When she brings Nate and Grandma Lilah into the picture, things change, for better and for worse, and she's not sure what to do.

Half a Chance, Cynthia Lord's third novel for kids, encourages readers to see things from other people's perspectives, to appreciate and protect the environment (especially/specifically local birds), and to find the courage to reach out and speak up. It will likely also inspire kids to grab a camera and take a bunch of pictures of the world around them. If you loved this book but don't consider yourself a photographer or an environmentalist, consider volunteering at a local elderly home or senior center.

To see some of the words on the scavenger hunt, visit Cynthia Lord's website. If you take any pictures inspired by Half a Chance, please share your pictures in the comments below!

Related Posts at Bildungsroman
Interview: Cynthia Lord
Book Review: Rules by Cynthia Lord

Tags: books, reviews

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