The Children’s Book Review | August 22, 2018
Get to know Claudia from Kristin Levine’s The Jigsaw Jungle—a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart.
The Children’s Book Review: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Claudia: The alarm on my phone. Obviously.
I see you have a bag with you. Will you tell us what you keep inside of it?
In my purse? Okay, I’ve got:
A little pack of tissues
Cash: $5, $10, and three $1 bills
Some loose change (47 cents)
Movie ticket stub
Half-eaten granola bar
A plastic bag of puzzles pieces
Are you hungry right now? Can we fix you anything to eat? Maybe we could make you your favorite dish?
Sure, I could eat. How about a hot dog? With lots of ketchup and just a little burnt. Cause that’s how my grandma liked them. And I miss her.
Do you like to read?
Do you have a favorite song?
[Claudia Dalton’s cell phone]
Claudia: Kate, these people are asking me all these strange questions!
Kate: Like what?
Claudia: Like what I want to eat
Kate: Are they gonna cook you dinner?
Claudia: I don’t think so
Claudia: And now they’re asking about my favorite song!
Claudia: What do I tell them?
Kate: Uhh, your favorite song
Kate: What is it this week by the way?!
Claudia: Shut up
Claudia: You are trying to imply I change my mind a lot
Claudia: I just have a broad base of musical interests
Claudia: Do I have to pick just one?
Are you a rule follower or rule breaker?
Depends on the rule.
When was the last time you felt embarrassed?
Five minutes ago when you asked me to start working on this questionnaire.
If you weren’t answering the questions in this interview right now, what would you be doing?
Going to the movies with my friend Luis (we live in different states, but if you talk before/after the movie it’s almost like you’re there); or swimming at the pool with my BFF Kate and her teeny-tiny baby brother; or working a puzzle with one of my parents.
Do you have any secrets you would like to share with us before you go?
Share with you a secret?! In my family, if you have a secret, you write it down in a letter, seal it in an envelope, and bury it in the backyard for 30 years. (You think I’m kidding? I’m not.)
I’m not saying it’s the best approach. I’m just saying it’s how things were done.
But we’re getting better at sharing. Now, sometimes I’ll write my innermost thoughts down on the back of a puzzle. I mess up the pieces, put them back in the box, and then hand it to the person I want to talk to. Once they work the puzzle, they can flip it over and read my thoughts. Pretty clever, right?
So… now I guess you’re wondering what’s on the puzzle in the plastic bag in my purse. Well, I guess you’ll have to work it to find out. 🙂
The Jigsaw Jungle
Written by Kristin Levine
Publisher’s Synopsis: A mysterious treasure hunt helps to heal a broken family in critically acclaimed author Kristin Levine’s first contemporary tale—perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Jennifer L. Holm.
Claudia Dalton’s father has disappeared. What began as a late night at work has spiraled into a missing persons case—one that’s left twelve-year-old Claudia questioning everything she’s ever known about her father and their family.
But when she finally gets word from her dad, it turns out he isn’t missing at all. He’s just gone to “think things over” and visit an old friend, whatever that means. Feeling confused and helpless, Claudia starts to assemble a scrapbook, gathering emails, receipts, phone transcripts and more, all in a desperate attempt to figure out what’s happening with her dad. Claudia’s investigation deepens at her grandfather’s house, where she receives an envelope containing a puzzle piece and a cryptic message.
It’s this curious first clue that sets Claudia on an unexpected treasure hunt that she hopes will bring her dad home and heal whatever’s gone wrong with her family. Told through the pages of Claudia’s scrapbook, The Jigsaw Jungle is a moving story of a family lost and then found, with a dash of mystery and loads of heart, from award-winning author and middle-grade master Kristin Levine.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0399174520
About the Author
Kristin Levine received her BA in German from Swarthmore College and an MFA in film from American University. She spent a year in Vienna, Austria, working as an au pair, and has taught screenwriting at American University. Currently, she lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her two daughters. She is the author of the critically acclaimed The Best Luck I Ever Had, The Lions of Little Rock, and The Paper Cowboy.
This interview with Claudia, a character in Kristin Levine’s The Jigsaw Jungle, was conducted between Kristin Levine and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Character Development, Character Interviews, Family, Middle Grade Books, Mysteries, and Treasure Hunts.