Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Salon: Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes

I understand at least one of the reviews of Sara Lewis Holmes' juvenile novel, Operation Yes, wasn't glowing. It's all a matter of taste, of course. But, I thought enough of the book that I'm donating one copy to my library, and sending another to my niece. When a special niece gets a book, I thought it was entertaining and worth passing on.

Operation Yes is set on an Air Force base in Reform, North Carolina, but it could be any base with a school for the children of military personnel. Bo Whaley and his classmates just don't know what to make of their new sixth grade teacher, Miss Loupe. They never had a teacher who crawled on the floor as she called roll. But the large rectangle she taped off became a special place for the class, a Theatrical Space. It was a space that allowed them to be creative, while learning about their schoolwork, themselves, and their teacher. Miss Loupe's students could relate to her stories about her favorite brother, Marc, serving in the Army Special Forces in Afghanistan. And, Bo, the son of the base commander, needed a teacher who could understand how hard it was to live up to expectations.

Bo isn't the only family member who needs understanding. His cousin, Gari, is upset to have to live with Bo's family. She was forced to leave her friends and school in Seattle, when the Army called her mother, a nurse, back into service on a base in Iraq. Gari doesn't understand why that Theatrical Space means so much to the sixth graders. A tragedy in Miss Loupe's life forces her students to face their own fears about their families.

Every time I review a juvenile book, I remind my readers that I'm not the target audience. This story is designed for readers from 9 to 12. I would feel comfortable giving this to boys since Bo is the lead character, a likable boy who worries about his father, his family, and can't help getting in trouble. And, it's certainly interesting to read about the worries and fears of military kids. Holmes is a military wife and mother who has lived all over the world, so she understands the stories. I'm passing this on to my niece, hoping she'll appreciate the wonderful use of improvisational theater. My verdict? Much better than a so-so book, provided the book finds its audience.

Sara Lewis Holmes' website is

Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes. Scholastic, ©2009. ISBN 9780545107952 (hardcover),


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think the unusual setting and the fact it covers how relocation affects kids would make the book appealing for many children.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Eva said...

As a military brat myself, I would've loved a book like this when I was younger! :) However, as an adult, I find reading anything below YA fiction rarely works for me.

Lesa said...

I agree, Elizabeth. I think it should appeal to a number of children.

Lesa said...

I understand, Eva. I just know I have a brother-in-law who was a military brat, and a niece who loves theater, so I think they both would have appreciated this book. As I said, I'm passing the book on to my niece in fifth grade.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I buy books for my great-niece and two great-nephews for birthdays and Christmas, so I'm always looking for good recommendations (especially since I usually read the books before sending them to the kids). Thanks for including juvenile books in your reviews, Lesa.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Patricia. I'm always curious about the new juvenile books. (And, sometimes they appeal to me more than the new young adult books.)

Anonymous said...

Im fourteen and I didnt think that the book was that bad. Pretty interesting.

Lesa said...

Thank you. I'm glad you thought the book was interesting. I agree with you.