As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

December 15, 2011

Mick Harte was Here by Barbara Park, 1995

How could someone like Phoebe’s brother die? Mick Harte was one of the coolest kids you’d ever want to meet. Mick was also the kid who would still be alive now—if he’d only worn his bicycle helmet. . . . (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Kelly, book lover and avid reader

My favorite part of elementary school was when our library put on a book fair. I would go every day and pick out which books I wanted to buy and then my mom would come in and let me buy a few of them. One year, she bought a book for me that was not on my list. Naturally, I refused to read anything that my mother picked out. I was that girl. One night, I decided to pick it up and read it. I read it in one sitting and then sat on my mother's bed and sobbed. It was amazing.

Mick Harte was Here tells the story of 12 year old Pheobe as she deals with tragic death of her younger brother Mick. The story doesn't hide anything from the reader- she doesn't sugar coat the death of Mick or the hurt that the family feels. Which is perhaps why I feel like this story is such a real and moving story - Pheobe is a truthful and natural narrator. She is honest and open, often time hilarious in her tellings of her memories of her brother.

Perhaps most moving of all is that the story brings to light the importance of bicycle safety. As the family deals with the guilt of losing Mick in such a tragic and preventable way, the reader is reminded of how important something as simple as wearing your helmet really is. The conclusion where Pheobe confronts everything she feels at the school's assembly is the most powerful part of the story. I am in tears everytime I read it.

Fan's of Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series may be suprised by such a somber book coming from an author known for her hilarious children's series. She is an incredible author with the ability to make you laugh, cry and think all in the same breath. This is a gem of a book that I wish everyone would read- truly one of the best.

Market: Middle Grade
Language: Mild
Sensuality: None
Violence: Briefly mentions the death of a young boy
Mature Themes: death, losing a sibling

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