Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thoughts on A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

A team of Miami-Dade County Public School teachers is organizing the Battle of the Books reading challenge for fifth grade students in seven different schools. All participating students will have to read from a list of seven books and one of them is A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. Here’s what it says on the jacket flap:

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience's applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she'll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall. But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn't the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn't the only part of Zoe's life that's off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day. Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises—and that perfection may be even better when it's just a little off center.
I can't agree more with this last sentence! While I was reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about how great it is to discover and sometimes even rediscover authors/books, that are meant for younger kids. When you read these books and you are way past this age (like me!), you enjoy them differently. The characters in this book may all be "imperfect" in the eyes of the reader: Zoey with her many insecurities; her dad's phobias and her mom is a workaholic. But as you read, you can't help to think that they are so right for each other, so perfect as a family. Thea characters and situations make you laugh and when Zoe gets an organ instead of a piano, you really don't feel sorry for her because she has a way to always find the perfect in the imperfect of a situation. The story is so wonderfully written, it grabs you from the first sentence. Also, the author divides the book into many chapters that weave the story even better. My daughter plays the piano and now every time I'll listen to her play, it won't be the same. I haven't read anything else by Lisa Urban and now can't wait to read another one of her books. Have you read anything by Linda Urban? Please let me know if you have, and if so, what book would you recommend?


  1. My daughter, a fourth grader, really enjoyed this book when we read it together in the fall. Great book for battle of the books!

  2. I enjoyed this book, and I loved the message of it.