Noonie’s Masterpiece tells the story of Noonie Norton, a ten-year-old aspiring artist who is stuck living with her Aunt Sylvia, Uncle Ralph, and annoying Cousin Junior. Her mother died when she was in kindergarten and Noonie’s father is an archeologist. Rather than take Noonie along on his many digs, the stability of a regular family life is what her father believes is best for Noonie.
Problem is, Aunt Sylvia, Uncle Ralph, and that annoying cousin of hers can’t possibly understand Noonie’s genius. So Noonie wanders through different periods of her life trying to make it the best she can, sure that she’ll be discovered at any moment.
When Noonie hears of her school’s art contest, she’s determined to win first place, even if Sue Ann Pringle wins everything. Maybe then, Noonie’s dad will come home pronto.
Noonie’s Masterpiece is a brilliant story by Lisa Railsback. With Noonie Norton, Railsback has created a character that middle graders can’t help but sympathize with. Here’s Noonie, stuck with relatives while her father travels around the world with his job. She has a best friend, Reno, who is a bit of nerd. He’s a clumsy fellow, and he tries Noonie’s patience. Then, of course, there’s Sue Ann Pringle. That girl is perfect compared to Noonie and she wins all the school contests.
To say that Noonie has a lot on her plate, is perhaps, the understatement of the day. This is just one of the many things that will allow readers to relate to Noonie. Since this story is told in a humorous way, even the tougher topics, like Noonie missing her mother, are easier for readers to deal with.
The artwork for Noonie’s Masterpiece was created by Sarajo Frieden. From depicting Noonie’s many wonderful creations, to the illustrations of Noonie, Ms. Lilly, the art teacher, Reno, Sue Ann, and more, Frieden did a superb job of bringing this story to life in a visual way.
I choose Noonie’s Masterpiece while sitting around waiting for my laptop to reboot. The book I was reading was downstairs, so I picked up Noonie for a few seconds. I ended up reading all of Noonie’s story before continuing on with the other book. Railsback hooked me right away and I didn’t want to let go of Noonie until I was done with her. Let’s face it, if a character tells us that she’s a brilliant artist who hasn’t been discovered yet, and proceeds to tell you that she is going to explain her art while she’s alive because you never know if tomorrow she would be “trampled by a herd of kindergarteners” or “might choke to death on a rotten nut”, you want to pay attention to what she has to say.
I immediately fell in love with Noonie, and you will too. It’s one of the best middle grade books I’ve read in while.
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂