Nine-year-old P.J. Picklelime lives in a planned community, where people from all over the world have come together to work at a computer company and create a village that is self-sustaining. P.J. connects with the birds and allows one special, yellow warbler to live in her generous head of hair until he can learn to warble. Eventually, Lemon Pie, as she has named him, must move on and does so – flying all the way to South Africa.
P.J. then becomes friends with siblings Ruth and Joshua who are a few years older. The kids break up an illegal owl-selling crime ring, and help to save various birds and other wild animals in their village. While P.J. is busy with these issues, her parents are constantly fighting and finally her mother decides to move away to attend classes during the week. Even though she’ll come home on the weekends, P.J. feels that her life is being turned upside down. When her new best-friend, Ruth, dies suddenly, P.J. talks to all of the adults in the village to figure out how to handle the emotions she is grappling with. This is a well-rounded story that is at times funny, silly, and moving. I would recommend this book for students in grades 4 -6.
Recommended by Jennifer Altena, Teacher-Librarian.