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What Came from the Stars
ISBN: 9780547612133
Author: Schmidt, Gary D.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: September 2012
Retail: $16.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 83%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Qty:
Annotation: In a desperate attempt for survival, a peaceful civilization on a faraway planet besieged by a dark lord sends its most precious gift across the cosmos into the lunchbox of sixth-grader Tommy Pepper of Plymouth, Massachusetts. 75,000 first printing.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction
- Juvenile Fiction | Family
Library of Congress Subjects:
Fantasy.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2011045439
Lexile Measure: 930
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 6.00" L x 1.25" W
Bargain Category: Middle School, Fantasy
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring)
In Massachusetts, Tommy grieves for his mother; on a distant planet, Young Waeglim invests his Valorim culture into a necklace. It falls through worlds and lands in Tommy's lunchbox, bringing Tommy memories of the Valorim--and superhuman abilities. Schmidt gives us parallel stories--one Tolkienesque fantasy, the other contemporary realism--that merge, underscoring that inner change is itself the stuff of heroism.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #5)
Schmidt brings high heroic fantasy and contemporary realism together in this novel of a bereaved family. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, Tommy grieves for his mother, who died eight months ago. And on a distant planet in "Weoruld Ethelim," Young Waeglim invests all the Art of the destroyed Valorim -- his culture -- into a chain necklace, sending it into the universe to keep it safe from evil Lord Mondus. When the chain falls through worlds and lands in Tommy's lunchbox, it brings Tommy vivid memories of the Valorim -- and gives him superhuman abilities, including the power to create paintings that move and to conjure alien creatures from sand. But Lord Mondus wants the chain himself, and Tommy is caught up in a fight that mingles humdrum real estate chicanery with cosmic greed; the school bully with an epic warrior; and human consolation with celestial triumph. Schmidt gives us two parallel stories, one told in the formal, archaic style of epic Tolkienesque fantasy, with Old English and biblical resonances; the other in down-to-earth contemporary language. Gradually, the two styles merge, underscoring that inner change is itself the stuff of classic heroism. The life and power of Art is central to this artful interplanetary story in which a boy misses his mother "like he would miss the planet." deirdre f. baker
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 August #1)

In his new novel, Schmidt (Okay for Now) shifts from historical fiction into out-and-out fantasy. Sixth-grader Tommy Pepper lives in Plymouth, Mass., where his mother's recent death has shell-shocked his small family. Meanwhile, in a far-off galaxy, an epic battle between good and evil has reached its apex. To save the most important aspect of his culture, Young Waeglim forges the "last of the Art of the Valorim" into a chain and hurls it into space, where it streaks past comets and stars before landing in Tommy's lunchbox. He puts it around his neck, and special powers ensue. Tommy's chapters are vintage Schmidt, with improbably named characters, authentic (and funny) classroom dynamics, and his familiar stylistic tics of referring to characters by both first and last names and frequently repeating key phrases. The alternate story is written in a heroic but dense prose style that verges on parody ("And on the eighth day, between the rising of Hnaef and the rising of Hengest, the Lord Mondus forged an arm ring from the orluo of Yolim and Taeglim..."). The strands come together in a rousing battle scene, but it may take a determined reader to get to it. Ages 10–14. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 September)

Gr 6–8—There's a pretty good story at the center of this novel. Twelve-year-old Tommy Pepper, his little sister, and their father are struggling through the grief of his mother's sudden death. Tommy and his mother parted on bad terms that terrible day, and he feels that her anger precipitated her car accident on an icy road. Patty has not spoken since. The family is also resisting the attempts of an unscrupulous developer to oust them from their beloved house in Plymouth, Massachusetts, so she can build waterfront condominiums. That's plenty of fodder for an absorbing plot. But Schmidt has wrapped Tommy's story inside an unsuccessful sci-fi fantasy. On a distant planet, evil, duplicitous beings have nearly conquered the good guys. In desperation, one of the heroic types makes a Chain out of the Art of his civilization and launches it into space, and it falls into Tommy's lunch box. All well and good, except that readers have no idea what the planet looks like or what normal life consists of there. The language in this part of the book is ponderous; for example, "Not a one of the Valorim did not weep for what would be lost together." Readers need to plow through pages of impenetrable prose before they meet Tommy. And every time they get swept into his story, it's brought to a halt. Schmidt is an accomplished, talented author who excels at creating characters dealing with tricky moral dilemmas. He has taken a risk in attempting to write in a new genre, but it's a risk that did not pan out this time.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

[Page 154]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.