Sunday, September 25, 2011

No passengers beyond this point by Gennifer Choldenko

One of the highest accolades a student can bestow on a book is to ask his or her teacher to read it to the class. When I overheard a student at my school telling her teacher that she must read No Passengers beyond this point to her Grade 5 class I just knew I had to grab this book for myself.

The first thing I enjoyed about this book is the way each chapter is presented as from the point of view of each of the three children. You might remember I talked about this in I put a spell on you. Another series that does this is the Blossom books by Besty Byars. In No Passengers beyond this point Gennifer Choldenko gives each child an authentic voice which helps the reader to quickly identify their individual strengths and weaknesses. There is India the selfish teenager, Finn the family worrier and the delightful six year old Mouse.

I have had a strange reaction to this book. I found the ending a little disappointing but at the same time I need to say I was thoroughly engrossed in the first 22 chapters. I also had some problems with the way the author seemed to want her characters to grown and change and learn about themselves or even learn some big life lessons but in the end I think this only really happened for the older girl India. On the upside I loved little Mouse. She is quirky and highly intelligent and all the way through I wanted only the best for Mouse. The scene when Mouse arrives at the airport and sets off the security system with her exploding volcano is one of my favourite parts of this book.

Finn, India and Mouse are forced out of their home when their mother defaults on the mortgage. Mrs Tompkins or Mom cannot go with the children. She is sending them across the country to their Uncle Red with the plan that she will join them when the school term ends. Mom is a teacher and she must complete her contract and then she will need to obtain accreditation to teach Colorado.

The plane hits terrible turbulence and on landing the children find themselves in a disconnected place filled with children masquerading as adults, loudspeakers and strange warnings about time.

All three children are taken into the town of Falling bird. They are welcomed like returning heroes and on arrival they are each taken to the house of their dreams. India's for example is filled with all those wonderful clothes teenagers love. Finn finds a dad who loves to shoot hoops and for Mouse "my home is yellow with white trim, a porch swing, pots with flowers, and clouds of butterflies and hummingbirds and fireflies everywhere... in the doorway is a lady with red curly hair like mine. She has a science book in one hand, a plate of peanut-butter-chocolate chip cookies in the other. I can smell them."

I have just read the comments of one reviewer who, like me thought the cover was a jar. A closer look reveals it is an aeroplane window. I will be very interested to hear what the Grade 5 class think about this surreal, fantasy adventure. You can hear the author here. You might also want to read a good review which gives a little more of the plot. Finally here is a splendid review by my 'friend' Mr K. I have only just discovered that he totally enjoyed this intriguing book.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think No Passengers Beyond this point is a great fantasy adventure with lots of exciting turns. I liked the end chapter the most and think it had great use of language. My favourite character was Mouse. I hope you enjoy this great book.

Anonymous said...

I loved the suspense; it made me feel like every second was an important one. I swear that if I went back and read it all again it would still have the same mind-boggling, mysterious adventure feeling to it. I loved it!

Anonymous said...

I think this book is very entertaining and it has a great storyline. You can either love it or hate it. My favourite characters are Mouse and Boom the dog. I think that 'No Passengers Beyond This Point' is one of the best books that I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

I regard this book as an amazing masterpiece. My favourite part was at the end when the kids find the black box and escape a raging fireball. It's good how you don't really know how it ended at all. I love it how you can look at it from so many perspectives. BG Yr 5

Anonymous said...

I loved the book No Passengers Beyond This Point because it was a mystery. I love mystrey books and this is teh best one I have read. The only part which was confusing was the black box. My favourite character was Mouse because she is really funny, kind, helpful, brave and smart. I would recommend this book for ages from 10 to 16. This book really inspired me and all I want to do is just read it again. I hope everyone agrees with me when you finish the book. NVdW Yr 5

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading No Passengers Beyond This Point. It was a great book that really got you thinking. My favourite character was Boom because she was friendly, helpful and such a beautiful companion to the three Tomkin children. I would recommend this book for young teens and kids over ten years old. MNB Yr 5

Anonymous said...

My favourite character is Chuck. He is a good guy and everybody likes him. No Passengers Beyond This Point is a book you have to read. CE Yr5

Anonymous said...

My favourite character was Mouse becasue she was always so active. I also liked the way it was written from different perspectives. I this it was clever how they had to find the black box. It will leave you thinking for a while. HKS Yr 5

Anonymous said...

Wow!No Passengers Beyond This Point is at the top of my favourite book list. I highly recommend this book and wish there was a series of books. CS Yr5

Anonymous said...

'No Passengers Beyond This Point is a fantastic book. I would definitely recommend it to read for kids over 10 or young teens. I loved the mysteries and how you had to remember every little thing because most of the time something is related to something later on. my favourite character is Mouse because she has a funny way of looking at things. I also like how she has an imaginary friend called Bing. (I have one too. His name is Leo and he is a tiger). My other favourite character is Boom, she is a cute tunnel dog who helps Mouse, Finn and India find their way home. I also like Boom beacuse she is a dog and I love dogs. This is one of those books that will keep you thinking for long after you have finished reading it. A teriific book. AR Yr 5wnedtyr

Momo said...

Hello Year Five students

Thank you for adding your thoughtful comments to my blog. It is so wonderful to read how much you enjoyed this book. I wish Mouse was in my family. For those of you who are dog lovers look for One dog and his boy in our school library. All of you might also enjoy Too small to fail. Both of these are reviewed in this blog.

I have done an enormous amount of reading this year so keep your eye on my blog over the next few weeks.

Miss L.

Connor Ward said...

I liked the book overall but i didn't really understand the ending in the chapter "Blue Shoe" with Mrs Bean... she reveals stuff about the plane and things... but was the experience for the kids a dream? or something... thats what i didn't get. can someone explain this to me!!!