All of Beth Lambert's recent successes are finally going to her head. She thinks she's a shoe-in to win a prominent local award for leadership, and the acceptance speech she's prepared shows just how prideful she's become. When Beth doesn't win and her next big project goes all wrong too, leaving the whole town mad at her, she feels the need to get away and start over. She moves to the next town to temporarily live with her grandmother to escape the humiliation. This time, she's determined to be the best follower anyone can be, but what she doesn't realize is that she has a true gift for leadership that can't be hidden away. People need Beth and her irrepressible energy for making things happen, but first Beth has to figure all this out and come to terms with the fact that being a true leader is more than just bossing others around.
While Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe, the first book of the Philip Hall series was a LOL funny book, Get on out of Here, Philip Hall takes a somewhat more serious turn. It's not nearly as serious as Bette Greene's YA novels, but there are still some important messages to be gleaned from it's pages. Beth Lambert, the protagonist and first person narrator of the story is a born leader, who in this volume allows the successes she enjoyed in the previous book to go to her head a little too much. She experiences first-hand the saying, "Pride goeth before a fall," when she becomes so puffed up with pride that she doesn't know how to handle it when she's no longer winning at everything. At this point, she moves to her grandmother's house in a different town for a little while to escape the humiliation she feels at everyone in her tiny town witnessing her failures. There she finds renewed purpose and is able to get her mojo back.
Readers may find the prideful Beth a tad annoying, but I think that's the point of the story. She had to be taken down a peg so that she could learn how to be more humble in order to find her place in the world again. It's very difficult to truly serve others when you think too much of yourself and this is something she figures out as the story progresses. Not only does she learn a lesson about overblown pride, but she also learns that you need to embrace your God-given gifts. Beth has a gift for leadership, but she first let her own vanity get in the way of being a good leader, then she basically ran away from it when faced with harsh criticism. She decides she's going to be the best follower ever, but soon learns that this is not her strong-suit in the least. People need her to step up to the plate and lead, because without her they're lost. All throughout the story Beth is supported by her loving family who gently guide her in the right direction while allowing her the space she needs to learn and grow on her own. And of course in the background, we have Beth's friendship and sweet childish romance with Philip Hall, who also happens to be one of her chief rivals.
Overall, Get on out of Here, Philip Hall is another enjoyable read from one of my favorite authors. The only reason I dropped a half-star is because the early parts of the book weren't quite as engaging to me as some of the author's others, but it definitely picked up as Beth starts to figure things out for herself. I found it be wholly appropriate for the late elementary/middle-grade audience at which it's aimed, and I would very much recommend it for those age groups. It certainly presents some important truths that kids would do well to heed, and I think they could learn a lot from reading it.
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