From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Contemporary Guatemala is the setting for this story of 12-year-old Tzunun Chumil(Mayan for "Hummingbird Star"), called Rosa Garcia by the man who supposedly rescued her from abandonment at age four. Rosa and "Uncle" Baltasar travel from place to place, begging for their livelihood as he pretends to be blind. But, despite her dependence on and devotion to him,Rosa is distressed by the dishonesty of their lifestyle and has memories of loving parents. Told by a seer, the Day-Keeper Do-a Celestina, that the child will bring him a treasure, Baltasar takesRosa to the town of San Sebastian where he and a friend develop a plan to steal a valuable statuefrom the town's church. The plot backfires when Rosa's conscience forces her to seek out the priest and reveal their intentions, and the two men are jailed. Rosa runs back to the kindly Day-Keeper, who takes her in and gives her the courage to make a new life for herself. When Uncleescapes, Rosa must confront him and, in a dramatic scene in which he plunges off a cliff, shelearns that she was kidnapped. With the help of the Day-Keeper and a scrap of paper found in hiswallet, Tzunun is reunited with her parents. Cameron layers her compelling story with vividdescriptions of setting and weaves into the narrative the complexities inherent in the blending of Mayan and ladino cultures and religious practices. This is reflected in the book's title, which isthe Spanish translation of Tzunun's name. A well-written and engrossing read.Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
This story is excellent. It is deep within Guatemala, it’s exciting, entertaining, horrifying,seemingly real, and gripping. It’s hard to put down. It details life and culture, and it’s just agreat story of survival and finding one’s place in the world. It’s also an adventure story, she’ssearching for her family and what is written on a secret piece of paper. There’s mystery andmysticism. Set within a historic time period, and referring to actual events, this work of fictionlends itself directly to speak about recent Central American history and tragedy. Definitely a book to keep on the shelf and use. I find nothing within this text that would raise any communityquestions.
From Publishers Weekly
In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than anovel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about toturn 13. Through the heroine's poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of lifein the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties.The author's portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chaptersoften grow out of one central image such as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writing, giving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph's gift for metaphoric language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa's first crush: "My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went").When the easy rhythms of the girl's island life abruptly change due to two major events, theauthor develops these cataclysms so subtly that readers may not feel the impact as fully as other events, such as the heroine's unrequited love. Still, it's a testimony to the power of Joseph'swriting that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importanceto her winning heroine. Ages 8-12.