Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (originally published 1943) is a classic about a clever small town boy. Over the course of the six stories in the volume, the reader discovers a bit of hilarity about small town living in the middle of the century America. I loved the fact that although it was somewhat realistic, the extreme and hilarious solutions to Homer’s situations bordered on ridiculous!Continue Reading
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes is a realistic volume detailing the ordinary events in one second grader’s year. I loved how the most ordinary difficulties were the subject of Billy’s story. In this year, Billy learned overcome worries about his own abilities in school, dealing with the conflicts he feels with his young sister, and his relationship with the world as a 7-going-on-8 child. Since my son also is seven-nearly-eight and he too has a three-year-old sister, I felt like this book came at the perfect time for him. He really enjoyed it, staying up way past bedtime in order to finish it and see just how Billy’s year ended up.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is a 1930s Newbery Award Winner, based on the experiences of the author’s own grandmother. Caddie is a creative and active 11 year old, resistant to the demands her nineteenth century culture demands of her because she is a girl. In this fictionalized volume of adventures, Caddie’s fun occasionally brings her in to danger, although her courageous spirit refuses to worry.
Although her stories are fun ones, it is does not capture my heart in the ways Laura Ingalls’s adventures do, and it does not provide the ultimate growth at the end of the book that gives satisfaction. Caddie has supposedly embraced some of her roll as a girl in her culture, but I am not convinced. Continue Reading
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel & Friends, October 2014) is chocked full of amazing characterization. Rose is a preteen struggling with OCD and difficulties fitting in because she is on the autism spectrum. But Rose is not stupid, and her quick wit and clever ways of dealing with her frustrating life
One of Rose’s obsessions is homonyms, and she loves that her name has a homonym (rose/rows). When her father brings her a stray dog, she gives him a name with two special homonyms: Rain (rein, reign). Rain quickly becomes her treasured best friend, confidant, and support as her home life with her verbally abusive father deteriorates. With only her uncle on her side, Rose faces a challenging year.Continue Reading