Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sky Jumpers Audio

Sky Jumpers Audio

Peggy Eddelman
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Abigail Revasch
Listening Library , 2013   ISBN: 978-0804126892

Before Hope was born there was a war, World War III. The combatants in the conflict used green bombs to attack each other and anyone who was not underground when the bombs hit were killed. Hope’s grandparents lived, and with some other survivors set out to find a new home for themselves. They founded the settlement of White Rock in the crater left by one of the green bombs. Beyond the rim of the crater there is an area full of dead air that people call Bomb’s Breath. The Bomb’s Breath is just one unexpected legacy of the bombs. Since the war no one has been able to create a stable magnet, which means that many of the devices humans used to depend on can no longer be made. In addition, properties of certain metals have been altered, there are new plants, and the planet’s weather has changed.

   Now that so many of the old inventions can no longer be made, the people in White City are encouraged to invent new devices. They hold an invention competition every year and the winner is celebrated at the Harvest Festival. Hope has been trying to create a good invention for years, but unlike her best friend Aaren, Hope has no inventing ability. She can sky jump into the Bomb’s Breath, but when she tries to demonstrate her potato peeling invention in front of her classmates, her invention literally falls apart.   Hope so much wants to make her adoptive parents proud of her, but convinces herself that such a thing will never be possible if she continues to be such a hopeless inventor.

   A few weeks after the Harvest Festival the people in White Rock send some of their young men to serve as guards in the city of Browning. Unlike White City, Browning does not have the high walls of a crater and the  Bomb’s Breath to keep it safe from bandit attacks. Soon after the guards leave, during a council meeting in the gym, a group of bandits attack. Hope’s father is wounded and the people of White Rock have no way to fight back against the bandits. The bandits insist that they will only leave if they are given all the antibiotics that the people of White Rock have made out of Ameiphus moss. Without any antibiotics, anyone in White Rock who gets sick or is injured during the winter will die.

   Hope is appalled by what is happening and decides that she has to do something. She has been into the Bomb’s Breath and is not afraid of it. She is also a natural leader and is therefore perfectly suited to be the one who goes for help. Even though it is snowy and bitterly cold, Hope has to somehow get to Browning.

   In this splendid first novel Peggy Eddelman tells a story that is utterly captivating. Listeners will grow fond of Hope, who does not understand that she, like all the inventors in White Rock, has a valuable gift. It is interesting to see how Hope changes as the story unfolds and how she deals with some considerable challenges.