The Magic of Melwick Orchard

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Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
5.4 X 7.6 X 1.3 inches | 0.97 pounds

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About the Author

Rebecca Caprara is a children's book author and illustrator. She graduated from Cornell University and practiced architecture for several years before shifting her focus from bricks to books. An avid globetrotter, she has traveled to more than 50 countries, and has lived in Italy, Singapore, and Canada. She is now growing roots in Massachusetts with her family.


"Isa has a deep bond with her spunky, language-loving little sister, Junie, so when Junie's bulging 'dessert belly' is revealed to be a tumor on her kidney, Isa's world falls apart. Now her father is working long hours, her mother collapses into bed after being with Junie all day, and Isa is feeling completely neglected and invisible. Fortunately, she chances upon a magical tree in a nearby orchard that seems to want to help Isa, and she makes friends with neighbor girl Kira, with whom she shares the magical fruits of the tree. Then Isa's father loses his job and Junie suffers an unexpected setback, pushing Isa to desperate measures and an emotional breaking point. A community of likable and well-drawn major and minor characters provides support for Isa as she negotiates raw emotion with little help from her credibly distracted parents. The emotional responsiveness of the magical tree is a perfect foil for Isa, highlighting the difference between things that can be easily fixed and things that are more complicated. Junie's characterization teeters right on the edge of twee, but it is saved by her genuine linguistic cleverness and her awareness of the show she must put on for her parents if not her sister. Readers who appreciate magical realism will find the premise of the tree intriguing, and they'll enjoy a solid story about the family's emotional rollercoaster and the sisters' love."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

-- (11/14/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"'There was no place for magic in a world where a six-year-old gets cancer, ' states 12-year-old Isa, whose younger sister, Junie, was diagnosed five months earlier. The family of four had finally arrived in a town that they liked after many moves due to job transfers. With all the displacement, Isa relied on Junie as her only friend, and now Junie lives at the hospital. Their mother has fallen into a deep depression, and their father is always working to pay the mound of medical bills. Isa feels invisible around her family and resists letting anyone else get close to her; even her genuinely kind schoolmate Kira is 'a major violation of my don't-need-friends policy, ' Isa says. One day, in the neighboring orchard, a tree sprouts a pair of shoes that Isa needs, then gives her cookies. Inspired by local myths, she wonders whether the trees can save her family. Caprara pens an emotional first novel about the fear that accompanies hope. The fragile relationship between the sisters is well drawn, and though the family's life seems on the brink of blowing apart, Caprara skillfully shows that good things are quietly blossoming."--Publishers Weekly

-- (11/5/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"Isabel discovers an astonishing secret--one that has the power to change everything--about the old orchard next to her house. Narrator Isabel, known as Isa to her family, is 12, solitary, and somewhat angry. Her parents are so consumed by her 6-year-old sister Junie's battle with kidney cancer that they seem to have all but forgotten Isa, who feels invisible. And Isa misses the one person, Junie, who she has decided would be her only friend. Multiple moves (nine in her 12 years) have made Isa determined to protect herself from saying goodbye to friends when she is uprooted again. But now her family lives in a house, away from the city, for the first time. Melwick Orchard hadn't produced apples in years when Isa's family arrived, but an oddly behaved squirrel and a sapling that grows overnight into a luminous-barked, silvery-blue-leafed tree produce something special for Isa when she needs it most. Caprara's principal characters--all seem to be white--are likable, and the worries of a family caught up in overwhelming circumstances are sympathetically portrayed. Junie is a precocious wordsmith, and Isa's exuberant neighbor, Kira, becomes a friend to Isa just when she needs one. The magic in the orchard is low-key, charming, and convincing, and the happy ending, only partly dependent on magic, is equally believable. Warmhearted and compelling."--Kirkus Reviews

-- (6/6/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"Rebecca Caprara has beautifully walked the line between magic and real life in The Magic of Melwick Orchard. For families with children who have illnesses, they will see the truth of what it is like when one member of the family is sick. This story will hold your heart, break it, and then mend it back together."--Kati Gardner, author of Brave Enough

-- (3/13/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"Caprara beautifully captures the unbreakable bond between sisters when life throws a curveball. A tender and imaginative debut."--Jenn Bishop, author of 14 Hollow Road and The Distance to Home

-- (11/30/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"Readers will fall in love with strong-willed, spunky Isa in this magical story about hope, resilience, and what it means to be family."--Abby Cooper, author of Bubbles and Sticks and Stones

-- (11/8/2017 12:00:00 AM)

"A beautiful bloom of a book, rooted in friendship, hope, and love. This stunning debut will make you believe in magic--on the page, and in your heart!"--Bridget Hodder, author of The Rat Prince

-- (11/7/2017 12:00:00 AM)