About the Book:
Counting by 7s meets See You in the Cosmos in this heartwarming coming-of-age story perfect for the budding geologists and those fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.
Henry has always been fascinated by rocks. As a homeschooler, he pours through the R volume of the encyclopedia to help him identify the rocks he finds. So, when a meteorite falls in his family’s field, who better to investigate than this rock enthusiast–with his best friend, James, and his little sister, Birdie, in tow, of course.
But soon after the meteorite’s arrival, the water in Henry’s small Maine town starts drying up. It’s not long before news spreads that the space rock and Henry’s family might be to blame. Henry is determined to defend his newest discovery, but his knowledge of geology could not have prepared him for how much this stone from the sky would change his community, his family, and even himself.
Science and wonder abound in this middle-grade debut about an inquisitive boy and the massive rock that came down to Earth to reshape his life.
I loved this book. From the first sentence, it feels distinctly middle-grade, and it is. It’s slow and simple and immediately engaging. And I don’t mean slow in a bad way at all – the writing has a lyrical quality that demands that you slow down your eyes and read a little different than you might normally (I’m an expert skimmer/speed reader). Henry is complex and methodical, wanting to know whether or not he’ll be able to carry on his family’s legacy as a dowser, while also introducing the readers to his eclectic and entertaining family.
When something streaks through the sky one cold February night, Henry’s whole life changes before his eyes. There is something a little magical, a little mystical about the meteorite that crashes onto the hill behind his house.
As Henry learns more about the meteorite and how it changes his whole world, the reader is introduced to a town it seems like time forgot. Henry’s hometown is full of honest people who are a little resistant to change. The only even minor glimpse that proves that this book isn’t set too far into the past is a quick exchange about computers and email. Otherwise, Down to Earth could be set 50 years ago – or 50 years in the future.
Rating 4/5 stars. Well executed. Fun. Simple. I only wish it were a bit longer. I want to know what happens next!
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Betty Culley’s debut novel in verse Three Things I Know I True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her first middle-grade novel Down to Earth, is inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s an RN who worked as an obstetrics nurse and as a pediatric home hospice nurse. She lives in central Maine, where the rivers run through the small towns.