The Book Reviews – Website

February 28, 2008

No Problem

Filed under: N — thebookreviews @ 7:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

No Problem

Author: Dayle Campbell Gaetz

Page Length: 87

Reading Level: 2.2

Genre: Realistic Fiction

 

PLOT SUMMARY: Curt is a high school student facing the pressures of academics, work, girls, friendship, and his parents. Curt is a talented baseball pitcher; his father dreams of Curt making it to the big leagues. Having almost made it to the major leagues himself, Curt’s dad puts pressure on him to achieve perfection and dedicate himself completely to the sport. Curt tires of the constant criticism and pressure. His coach notices him tending his arm and offers a bottle of muscle relaxers to take only when he really needs them. Curt’s world begins a downward spiral. Under extreme pressure, he begins to take the pills to sleep or relax. While working his part-time job, he meets and becomes enamored with Leah, a girl who is herself struggling with an issue (an alcoholic father). He falls for Leah but finds himself pursued relentlessly by Rachel, an older, flirtatious girl. Rachel offers Curt a ride home and before he knows it, he has taken his first hit of cocaine. As Curt’s addiction grows, his world falls apart. Coach takes him out the game and he storms off the field. He alienates his parents and his friends. Leah finds about his time with Rachel and his drug habit. Mom and dad are suspicious. A confrontation is coming. A choice has to be made. Will Curt come clean about his drug habits and seek help or will his life spin further out of control?

 

REVIEW: This story follows the traditional ORCA book format. The sentences are simple, the chapters short, and the subject level is high interest. As a reader, I dislike how briefly such important and vast subjects are touched upon and dismissed.  Even though some students are lower level readers, they can appreciate the depth and emotional dimensions of the issues presented in these books. I wish that they delved a little deeper and really examined the causes and effects of such issues.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: These books would work well for independent reading. In addition, teachers could have students analyze the causes and effects of Curt’s drug use and addiction. Students will likely be able to relate to many of the issues addressed in these novels. 

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://orca.powerwebbook.com/client/PDFs/TeachersGuides/Orca%20Soundings/NoProblemGuide.pdf

 

http://teens.drugabuse.gov/

 

http://www.teendrugabuse.us/teendrugstatistics.html

 

http://www.helpforteens.net/

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

 

Advertisements

February 27, 2008

Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

Filed under: F — thebookreviews @ 9:13 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom

Author: Margaret Davidson

Page Length: 80

Reading Level: 3

Genre: Non-fiction

 

REVIEW: I have read several of Margaret Davidson’s biographies and find Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom as the best written.  The story of Frederick Douglass is graphic in the descriptions of the treatment of black slaves in the early 1800’s.

 

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1817.  He lived his first few years with his grandmother but he knew it was a matter of time until he moved to Old Master’s house to begin his life as a slave.  Frederick was fortunate, in that he was sent to Baltimore as a young man to work as a slave in the city.  There, he served as a companion to one of Old Master’s brother-in-laws, Hugh Auld.  Not only did this give him the opportunity to be well-fed and live in comfortable accommodations but the lady of the house, Sophie, taught him to read.  She did not know it was against the law to teach slaves to read.

 

Frederick was smart and continued to teach himself to read.  He knew he did not want to spend his life as a slave.  It took two attempts but Frederick did escape and moved to the North where there was no slavery.  He became a spokesman for the abolitionists and a friend of Abraham Lincoln.  He wrote books and helped fight slavery for 25 years. 

 

He was the inspiration for those who fought for laws that would protect blacks, for schools for the blacks, and for better jobs for the blacks until his death on February 20, 1895.  Over 25,000 people attended his funeral in The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington D. C.

 

This book was informative of the real life slaves led and the fight for equality that did not come until the end of the Civil War.  It tells of the fight Frederick Douglas continued to lead for African Americans after the war.

 

Frederick Douglas was the inspiration for Martin Luther King Jr. who continued the fight for freedom over 100 years after Douglass began.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Students who enjoy history would like this book.  It would be a good book as a supplement to the study of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/collateral.jsp?id=424

 

http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/viewWorkDetail.do?workId=164&

 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p1539.html

 

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASdouglass.htm

 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

 

Johnny Tremain

Filed under: J — thebookreviews @ 9:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Johnny Tremain

Author: Esther Forbes

Page Length: 322

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: Forbes tells the story of Johnny Tremain, a young apprentice, growing up in Boston in the late 1700’s. Johnny is apprenticed to an elderly silversmith who takes him in after his mother dies. Johnny is fortunate and is quite gifted in his trade. One day, Johnny’s determination to be the best without heeding rules and limitations leads to a terrible accident. Johnny discovers how quickly one can more from being the most admired for his utility and skill to being the least useful. The reader explores with Johnny how his disability limits him; however, we also watch Johnny overcome his loss and persevere.

 

Johnny becomes wrapped up in the printing press business. He becomes a valuable resource for the secret meetings between prominent figures in society including: Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and John Hancock. The reader becomes engaged in Johnny’s adventures as he roams about the countryside on a wild horse delivering papers, secreting messages, and participating in the Boston Tea Party. Johnny relays the realities of living in a town heavily occupied by the British soldiers as he befriends some of them and discovers, as the time for action grows near, how quickly one can change from friend to foe.

 

Forbes makes the history of the time exciting and eventful. The readers truly becomes engaged in what it must have been like to grow up in the 1770’s, come of age, court a young lady, discover a prominent family connection, and be willing to sacrifice anything for the rights of men everywhere to be free. 

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was easy to become engrossed in the Johnny’s life and to forget that I was learning history at the same time. This point alone makes it a great novel to use in class (because students are learning without realizing it). The book is somewhat lengthy and involved in the politics of the time. I would recommend pairing it with a unit on the Revolutionary War so that students would have a frame of reference for the story and truly gain insight from reading it. 

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.bookrags.com/notes/jt/

 

http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/Tremain/tremaintg.html

 

http://www.macomb.k12.mi.us/wq/WebQ97/REVOLUT.HTM

 

http://www.webenglishteacher.com/forbes.html

 

http://www.nevada.edu/~treed/trwebquest/   (webquest)

 

http://www.multied.com/revolt/ (Revolutionary War history) 

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

February 20, 2008

Bull Rider

Bull Rider

Author: Marilyn Halvorson

Page Length: 92

Reading Level: 3rd

Genre: Realistic Fiction, Suspense

 

REVIEW, PLOT SUMMARY & AREAS FOR TEACHING: When you tell people you live in Fort Worth, they immediately think of cowboys, cattle, and horses. And the beginning of each year brings us the main event of this city’s tradition: The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. As I have never been to a rodeo and my closest encounter with cattle has been the local 4-H fair, I began this book with little background information.   

 

Bull Rider is an entertaining story about a 17 year old boy named Layne who has been without a father for six years. His father was killed by a bull at a championship rodeo – “trampled so bad he never woke up”. One of the main reasons for the accidental death, was that Layne’s father used a “suicide wrap” to hold onto his bull. Despite this tragic event, Layne has a passion for riding bulls and would like to enter a rodeo himself. Layne wants to show that even though his father was unable to win a championship, he son can. However, Layne’s mother refuses to allow her son to enter the competition.

 

With the help of his friend Jana Kelvin, Layne is able to practice bull-riding on her land. Out of several animals on Jana’s land, Layne quickly recognizes the one with the greatest challenge: a full grown Brahma named Rhino. On Layne’s first ride with Rhino, he was thrown off and near death until his sister rescued him by waving her jacket in front of the bull.

 

Watching the near-death event was Chase Kincaid, Jana’s grandfather. Chase befriends Layne and allows him to practice bull-riding with him without the knowledge of Layne’s mother. On page 49, we can infer that Chase says the only thing that’s worse than being so old nobody thinks you can do anything, is being so young that no one thinks you can do anything. This is a strong internal motivator for Chase in helping Layne with his dreams.

 

Layne tries to use a “suicide wrap” for his rides with Chase, but Chase reminds him that even though this type of hold may give a rider extra grip, it is dangerous. July 3rd is the big day for Layne’s bull-riding competition. It is also the same day that his mother will be out of town. This allows Layne easy access to attend the competition without her permission.

 

Page 87 gives us a hint of a flashback to how Layne’s father died. We find a bull-rider at the July 3rd competition using the same “suicide wrap” and unable to let go as the bull goes wild. This event startles Layne and it almost looks as if he is not going to be able to ride. Layne does manage to enter the arena with Rhino, however during his ride, Layne’s mother shows up and looks worried. This causes Layne to lose concentration and grip. He falls off, but is safe. The book wraps up quickly with all parties smiling, hugging, and celebrating on a safe competition ride. Layne’s mother realizes that bull-riding is her son’s passion despite the dangers that come with it

 

This book would be great to use in introducing terms associated with a sport many kids may be unfamiliar with. Just as there are many cultures of ethnicity, there are many cultures when it comes to various sports that are out there.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://orca.powerwebbook.com/client/PDFs/TeachersGuides/Orca%20Soundings/BullRiderGuide.pdf

 

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/swyar/browseEntry.asp?id=22815&grade=9&booktitle=Bull+Rider 

 

http://www.fwstockshowrodeo.com/ (Fort Worth Stock Show/Rodeo Site)

 

http://www.pbrnow.com/about/sportinfo/basics.cfm

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

 

February 19, 2008

The Hemingway Tradition

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 7:42 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The Hemingway Tradition

Author: Kristin Butcher

Page Length: 92

Reading Level: 4.2

 

PLOT SUMMARY: As the story opens, Shaw Sebring and his mom are moving to Winnipeg, Canada.  They are trying to recover from the shock and tragedy of the suicidal death of Dyan Sebring, Shaw’s dad and respected author. 

 

Shaw actually was the person to find his dad, who ended his life by putting a bullet to his head. Sixteen year old Shaw and his mother were unable to cope with the suicidal note, the death, and memories left in the house; so, his mom got a transfer and the move to Winnipeg was made.

 

Shaw begins school as normally as possible.  He makes a new best friend, Jai, from East India.  Jai invites Shaw to tryout for the volleyball team and they both make the team.  Shaw also meets Tess, a girl in his English class.  Tess is on the newspaper staff and she and Shaw appear to have “something special” between them.

 

As normal of life as Shaw tries to lead, he is not functioning normally.  He is haunted not only by the visual memory of his dad but also by the note his dad left.  In his note, Dylan Sebring, the world known author, said that he had lived a life full of lies.  He revealed he was gay, and could not longer live the life any longer.

 

The note left Shaw questioning if what he had considered a happy well-adjusted childhood had also been a lie.  As much as he had wanted to be like his dad when he was alive, he now wants to be as different from him as possible in his death.  As a result, his grades are falling and his mom is concerned.

 

Through the support of his mom, encouraging him to read his dad’s journal, Shaw comes to grip with his dad’s sexuality and the prejudices his dad felt.  He also is aware of racial prejudices in his school.

 

REVIEW: I liked this book because Ms. Butcher is able to relate the feelings and emotions that Shaw experiences quite realistically.  Shaw’s thoughts are those of any teen who might experience a death in the family, a move to a new  city—questioning what is real, what is unreal, what is good, what is bad.

 

The book is short but well written.  It covers several social issues.  I think any high school student would enjoy it. 

 

TOUCHY AREAS: Teachers should be aware of the referral to the bi-sexual preference subject matter.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=bbyApTI1az4C&dq=the+hemingway+tradition+by+kristin+butcher&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0

 

http://orca.powerwebbook.com/client/PDFs/TeachersGuides/Orca%20Soundings/HemingwayTraditionGuide.pdf

  

http://www.amazon.com/Hemingway-Tradition-Orca-Soundings/dp/1551432420

 

http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=9781551432427

 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

 

February 18, 2008

The Story of Thomas Alva Edison

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 7:39 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The Story of Thomas Alva Edison

Author: Margaret Davison

Page Length: 61

Reading Level: 2

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography

 

PLOT SUMMARY: Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847.  This was a time before telephones, automobiles, movies, and radios.  As a young boy, Tom was inquisitive, which became a detriment to his education.  Because he had so many questions, he became an irritant to his school teacher who told him “his brains were addled!”  This statement infuriated his mother so she pulled Tom out of school and decided to “home school” Tom.  Thomas Edison actually had only three months of formal education. When Tom was nine, he read a book about electricity which changed his life.  At this age, he decided to become an inventor.

 

REVIEW: Margaret Davidson gives a chronological account of Tom’s life as a young boy who began working at the age of 12 to fund his experiments. An interesting point I learned from the biography was that Tom had an accident at the age of 12 which left him deaf.  However, he learned to read lips and overcame this obstacle. Tom’s life was filled with obstacles but he was successful with his inventions.  The light bulb is what Thomas Edison is most remembered for, but I think it is interesting to see the phenomenal advancements that have been made from his first movie camera—which can now be seen on a small cell phone; and, the phonograph he invented is now a mere song downloaded on an MP 3 player.

 

I wonder what Tom would think if he know how his inventions had transformed over the past 150 years.

 

I would suggest this book for boys to read.  It is written at a high interest level, but a low reading level.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/bledson.htm

 

www.quizzyheights.couk/a_to_z_of_quizzes_i_to_o.htm

 

www.thomasedicon.index.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

February 17, 2008

When Willard Met Babe Ruth

Filed under: W — thebookreviews @ 11:31 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When Willard Met Babe Ruth

Author: Donald Hall

Illustrator: Barry Moser

Page Length: 42

Reading Level: 6th

Genre: Mix of Fiction / Non-fiction

 

PLOT SUMMARY: This book reminds me of the times I would tag along with my father to baseball games trying to get players to autograph my baseballs. It was not my favorite thing to do, but I did walk away with a lot of memorable experiences.

 

It’s hard to tell whether or not this picture book is based on real-life experiences or is purely fictional. The time period begins at 1917. The main character in this story is a 12 year old boy named Willard Babson. He spends his days helping his dad on a farm in rural New Hampshire and playing baseball during his free-time. One day a car slides into a ditch near Willard’s home. The “roadster” contains a man and a woman. Willard and his father recognize the man as Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox. Before Babe Ruth leaves Willard, after his car is rescued from the ditch, he hands the boy his own glove. Willard never forgets this. 

 

Part of the story is set during The Great Depression. And at a time when money is scarce, going to a baseball game is seen as a special occasion. Knowing that Willard loves baseball, his father and mother agree to take some money out of a “special jar” to pay for the cost. Willard and his father travel to Fenway Park to watch a “double-header” between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Browns. Between the two games, Willard and his father watch Babe Ruth warm-up. It is at this time that Babe Ruth recognizes Willard as the kid from New Hampshire. Willard reminds Babe that he gave him his glove. At that, Babe gives Willard a ball.

 

Excited from his venture out to Fenway Park, we see a poem from Willard on page 18, that captures his excitement. His poem is printed in the local paper, and Willard wins an award for his work. As time passes in the story, we see events in Willard’s life that are paralleled by events that are occurring in Babe Ruth’s life. Two lives of vast difference except for the love of baseball.

 

Elements of history are contained in this book as Willard grows older. Elections occur, wars cease, marriages happen, babies are born, and World Series are won/lost. As a man, Willard ends up working for the Transcript writing stories for the sports section. Willard and his wife conceive a daughter in which they name Ruthie (after Babe Ruth). One birthday, they surprise Ruthie with 3 tickets to Opening Day at the Braves Field. Ruthie’s trip to Boston for the first time, reminds Willard of his trip to see Babe Ruth. As Willard and Ruthie arrive at the stadium they are able to see the great ball player. Babe Ruth is surprised to see Willard after so long. He writes “Happy Birthday from Ruth to Ruth” on Ruthie’s scorecard. He also says that if he hits a ball today, it will be for her birthday.

 

REVIEW: This book is a simple story about the love of baseball, the admiration of a great player, and the beauty of life that many times finds itself making a “full-circle”. The story ends essentially where it began. The last page is a brief biography of Babe Ruth, the real-life ball player that is considered to be, by many, the greatest.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Historical Context (baseball beginnings, Great Depression), Poetry, Sequence of Events

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/baseball/teachers/lesson6.html

 

http://iteachhistory.org/history/fachal/index.htm

 

http://www.baberuth.com/

 

http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/detail.jsp?playerId=121578

 

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=babe_ruth_1895

 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/baseball/photoessay/07.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

 

February 16, 2008

The Thief Lord

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 10:21 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The Thief Lord

Author: Cornelia Funke

Page Length:  349 (including a brief Italian glossary)

Reading Level: 5

 

PLOT SUMMARY: The Thief Lord is a magical story set in Venice. Prosper and Bo were orphaned by the death of their parents and sent to live with their aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, their aunt and uncle think children are decorative and should behave as little adults. They decide to keep the younger golden haired angelic looking child, Bo; but, they desire to send the older boy, Prosper, away to boarding school. Determined to stay together, the boys run away to Venice, the city their mother had always told them fantastic tales about.  In Venice, Prosper and Bo join a family of runaways holed up in an abandoned theater and provided for by a by who calls himself, The Thief Lord. Scipio, The Thief Lord, magically appears with expensive items the children trade to a greedy underhanded shop owner for cash. The children have food and some semblance of warmth thanks to the gracious Thief Lord. However, Victor, the detective hired by their aunt, is hot on their trail.

 

One day, Barbarossa, the thrift shop owner, tells them of a client who will pay handsomely for the Thief Lord’s services. The kids embark on an adventure to steal a wooden wing. Their escapades lead them on many adventures. They come to befriend Ida Spavento and Victor the detective. Both Ida and Victor become involved in the quest to discover why the old man desires the wing and if the magical merry go round of the Merciful Sisters (known to make one young or old) actually exists. Intermingled amongst the story of the book are the struggles of the children. Their sadness at being homeless echoes throughout the book, but so does their bond and love for one another.

 

REVIEW: The book explores the themes of homelessness and survival. Readers realize how much Prosper, still a child himself, takes on the fatherly role to care for his younger brother. We meet, Hornet, a young girl with a love for books who reads to her “family” and soothes them in times of need. Scipio, the thief and provider of the group, has his own complicated family issues. The book really drives home the need for children to feel loved and valued. Funke reveals all to well that money does indeed not buy happiness.

 

This story develops nicely with surprising plot twists and turns. I found it to be a little a slow in the beginning however the last two-thirds of the book was much more engaging. This book would lead to some excellent discussions about life, love, and the pursuit of youth. Cornelia Funke is great about posing what if questions and exploring fantastical possibilities that seem almost possible.  I really enjoyed reading the story and would recommend it to my students (perhaps even more so the boys than the girls).

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Theme

 

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: This book was made into a movie in 2006.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.multcolib.org/talk/guides-thieflord.html

 

http://www.edhelperclipart.com/clipart/books/THETHIEFLORD.pdf

 

http://www.kidsreads.com/reviews/0439404371.asp

 

http://homeschooling.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_thief_lord_lesson_plan

 

http://www.venetia.it/ (Venice website) 

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

 

February 15, 2008

The Slave Dancer

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 10:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Slave Dancer

Author: Paula Fox

Page Length:  138 (including a brief Italian glossary)

Reading Level: 6

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: The Slave Dancer is an emotional and revealing book about the slave trading practices in the South. Set before the Civil War, the book is a graphic depiction of the atrocities of slavery. Jessie, a thirteen year old boy, is growing up in New Orleans with his mother, a seamstress, and a younger sister. During the daytime, Jessie roams about playing his fife. Although he’s been warned by his mother to stay away from the slave market, his fascination often draws him near. Sent out for candles so that his mother can do her work to support the family, Jessie ventures out to his aunt’s house to borrow some. On his way his home is kidnapped and taken aboard a ship. With no hope for escape and no way to get word to his mother, Jessie is doomed to make the fateful voyage with the crew.

 

The crew (reminiscent of Treasure Island) consists of a hardened group of men. There Jessie learns the harsh realities of sea life. He witnesses violence, whippings, fear, and intimidation. Jessie learns that his ship is to carry slaves and that he has been taken to become “the slave dancer.” Jessie will play his fife to dance the slaves and keep them fit. Horrors continue to unfold as the slaves are secreted to the ship, shackled, and packed in tightly among the holds. The inhumane treatment of the slaves, Jessie’s own sickness at having to witness their suffering and pain, and the crews’ views of superiority are carefully blended by Fox to reveal how bad human behavior can really be. The reader feels for the slaves and wishes they too could free them from their fate. The captain forges in on despite all for he has money in his sights and the people in his way are disposable. The story ends with the pursuit of the slave ship by American ships, lives hanging in the balance, and a storm raging upon the ship. Who will live and who will die? What will become of the slaves still captive on the boat? Will Jessie ever return home? Fox answers all of these questions and more.

 

 I would recommend this book for use with students who are mature and able to handle the content. The book is very graphic; one feels sickened and sad when reading it. After I finished reading it, I was even more discouraged at how dark and twisted human nature can be. With an insightful and mature audience, the possibilities with this book would be endless.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: After reading, one could compare the other atrocities committed against people throughout history. Higher level thinking skills could lead to the analysis of: why this happens, why people become commodities who are so easily sacrificed, and how we can prevent this pattern from repeating in the future? 

 

BOOK CONNECTIONS: Treasure Island

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/pdf/slave_dancer.pdf

 

http://www.enotes.com/slave-dancer

 

http://www.bookrags.com/The_Slave_Dancer

 

http://www.nancypolette.com/LitGuidesText/slavedancer.htm

 

http://www.civilwarhome.com/slavery.htm

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

 

February 14, 2008

Frightful’s Mountain

Filed under: F — thebookreviews @ 10:07 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Frightful’s Mountain

Author: George, Jean Craighead

Page Length: 258

Reading Level: 4th 

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: Frightful’s Mountain is the third book in the Sam Gribley series.  It begins where On the Far Side of the Mountain ends, with Sam’s Peregrine Falcon, Frightful, in the clutches of two poachers.  Throughout the story we watch Frightful evolve from a tame bird, to one finally in touch with her natural instincts. 

 

After escaping from the poachers, Frightful is forced to survive on her own.  It becomes clear that her life with Sam has left her unprepared for the realities of a falcon’s life.  She doesn’t know how to hunt, she doesn’t understand how to be a mother, and she isn’t even familiar with how and when to migrate. 

 

As Frightful searches for her home in Sam’s tree house, she encounters another falcon, Chup, who has lost his mate.  She bonds with him and he leads her to his aerie where three chicks await them.  Because Frightful was taken from her nest at such a young age, she is unfamiliar with her maternal responsibilities.  Luckily Chup takes up the slack, and Frightful walks away from the experience a little wiser.

 

When Frightful fails to migrate with her mate and chicks in the fall, she struggles to deal with the harshness of a New York winter.  Eventually, she is electrocuted by a telephone wire, and is rescued by a loving falconer and his wife.  They help speed Frightful’s recovery, then use her to educate local schools about the dangers of telephone poles to birds of prey.  This sparks a local campaign to save the endangered falcons.

 

Throughout the book Frightful finds Sam.  He misses his bird, but knows that he cannot keep her, as he is not a licensed falconer.  He worries that she may be so imprinted upon him that she will not be able to survive on her own.

 

The next spring Frightful mates with a new falcon and makes her own aerie on a local bridge.  It seems last spring’s adoption has taught her just enough about motherhood.  Unfortunately, the state begins repairs on the bridge where she is nesting.  The children of the community, including Sam Gribley, try to halt the work in an attempt to save the baby falcons, or eyases.  Their efforts prove fruitless.

 

Ultimately, the same poachers who kidnapped Frightful steal two of the eyases.  Sam discovers the theft and moves Frightful and her remaining eyas to a perch near his tree house.  The poachers are eventually caught; the eyases are raised by falconers, and eventually set free.

 

In the end, a community is brought together by its love for falcons, Frightful finally migrates with the rest of her kind, and Sam is relieved by the knowledge that his bird is able to survive on her own.

 

In my opinion, this was the best of the Sam Gribley books.  I feel Jean Craighead George did a great job of portraying Frightful’s thoughts and actions in a realistic way.   Though many of the human characters are one-dimensional, the story moves along rather quickly.  Each chapter poses a new problem and solution for Frightful.  This is a great book for animal and nature lovers.  I found that my male students last year really related to the idea of living on their own in the wilderness. 

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Frightful’s Mountain relays a great deal of facts about falcon’s, (how and what they eat, where they migrate, how they’re trained, how many exist in the wild, etc.) so this is also a great book for students who enjoy stockpiling trivial data.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson112.shtml

 

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Peregrine_Falcon.html

 

http://www.peregrinefund.org/default.asp

  

http://rfalconcam.com/rfc-main/mainView.php

 

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/peregrine_falcon.php

 

http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons99/falcon.html

  

REVIEWED BY: Jennifer John

February 13, 2008

A Stone in My Hand

Filed under: A — thebookreviews @ 10:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Stone in My Hand

Author: Cathryn Clinton

Page Length: 189 (including Arabic to English glossary and index)

Reading Level: 6th

 

PLOT SUMMARY: This story is a moving depiction of what life amidst rampant violence and civil unrest might be like. Malaak is an eleven year old girl of Palestinian descent living in Gaza. Political and social unrest surround her. One day Malaak’s father leaves to find work and never returns. The same day that father disappeared, extremists had detonated a bomb on a bus in the area where Malaak’s father was supposed to be. With the Israeli occupation of Gaza, there is tension. Sometimes the schools are closed and all of the Palestinians are under house arrest. Malaak’s brother, Hamid, is coming of age and becomes caught up in the movement to stop the Israeli occupation. He participates in dangerous activities and isn’t afraid to taunt and throw stones at the Israeli soldiers in his neighborhood. Malaak is suffering and withdraws. She speaks little since her father has disappeared. The violence and despair around her at times seems overwhelming, yet she preserves. Her friendship in a bird named Abdo gives her strength and courage. When danger draws even closer, Malaak is pulled into her brother’s secret world – one in which murmuring of Islamic jihad can be heard. Should the Palestinians continue to yield to Israeli control or will they tire of forced occupation, violence, and living in a constant state of upheaval? Will Hamid join in the fight? What will happen to Malaak’s family?

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: As a teaching tool, I think that this book would be fabulous for showing students how to slow down the action in an event. The simplicity of the language and the slow pace of the action are reflective of Malaak’s depression and limited desire to speak. The reader gets a realistic sense of her grief and suffering without excessive explanations. The words are concise but powerful. For example, on page 43 the author writes “I open my eyes wide, trying not to blink. But my eyes are oceans and each blink is a wave that sends the salty water down my cheeks.” 

 

REVIEW: Overall, I was a little disappointed in the ending only in the sense that it doesn’t really end – which may have been the author’s point about the war and the grief. Violence continues to beget violence and the pain and sadness live on. There is one beautiful quote in the book that Malaak’s mother quotes from father – “Bravery is not seen in one act. It is measured by the choices and deeds that fill our everyday lives.” That only could be a great discussion and written response piece in the classroom. Students could even examine other works of literature where characters were heroic through their every day survival and their perseverance, and how in their own lives their choices and deeds affect them.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.cool-reads.co.uk/review.asp?ID=2393

 

http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?mode=book&isbn=0763613886&browse=Author 

 

http://www.teenreads.com/reviews/0763613886.asp

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Islamic_Jihad

 

http://www.littleredbutton.com/gaza/index2.html (slide show – Gaza Strip documentary is available for purchase)

 

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gz.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

February 12, 2008

Anno’s Magic Seeds

Filed under: A — thebookreviews @ 10:58 pm
Tags: , , ,

Anno’s Magic Seeds

Author: Mitsumasa Anno

Page Length: 32

Reading Level: 4th

Genre: Fable

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: When I first picked up this book and looked at the cover, I thought that it was going to be a simple and easy story to follow. However, when I opened the book, I noticed that it was not just a story with words, but one with a sequence of math word problems.

 

The story is about a man named Jack who is given two seeds by a Wizard. One seed he is to bake and eat (which will last him all year) and the other seed he is to bury and watch grow two-fold. This process occurs year after year.

 

Now after the first paragraph, I groaned because I am not a “math person”. Yet, I pressed on, not paying much attention to the illustrations. I thought they were amateur and irrelevant. The further I read, the more I became frustrated with the increasing complexity of sequential math information. When I came to questions such as “how many fruits will grow next?” and “how many seeds did he bury?” (which periodically interrupted the storyline), I found myself scribbling numbers on a piece of paper to keep organized – expecting there to be a “final answer”.  There was no final numerical answer! What was provided at the end were a few philosophical paragraphs about seeds and the fact that more people paid close attention to items they grew in earlier times. As centuries have passed, food has become more plentiful and commerce, trade, greed, and wealth have played a more important role over basic survival. These ideas were not the ending I was anticipating. I was looking for a numerical conclusion. I was disappointed – at first!

 

Then I went back and looked at the illustrations that seemed to show no relevance to me and realized they were giving me the answers all along. I didn’t need my pencil and paper. The answer was right in front of me. After I read the entire story again, I was much more satisfied with the ending. Anno’s Magic Seeds is a simple story that was indeed creatively written.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: I would recommend this book for teachers to teach a mini lesson on sequence of events with some basic math skills inserted. This story is a great way to blend two academic disciplines together. For me it was also a great lesson about not judging a book by its cover, and the importance of paying attention to details.  

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.livingmath.net/LearningIdeas/JustReadIt/AnnosMagicSeeds/tabid/408/Default.aspx

 

http://www.learnnc.org/lessons/Maryjackson2112003344

 

http://www.k-state.edu/smartbooks/Lesson026.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

 

February 11, 2008

Navajo Long Walk

Filed under: N — thebookreviews @ 10:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Navajo Long Walk

Author: Nancy M. Armstrong

Illustrator: Paulette Livers Lambert

Page Length: 119

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: A book about Native Americans makes me think back to history class in middle school. At first I was not enthused about the subject, however when I read the introduction on page one I realized this was not just an adventure story or boring history lesson, but a tale about how the United States government forced 8,000 Navajo Indians from their homeland in eastern Arizona in 1864. The Navajos were made to trek over 300 hundred miles on foot and wagon to a fort in eastern New Mexico. There they were held captive for four years. The trek they made to New Mexico is known as the “Long Walk”.

 

This book is specifically about a boy named Kee, his sister Hasba, his mother Gentle Woman, his father Strong Man, and his grandmother Wise One. There are also several other animal characters that belong to the Native American family: a donkey named Small Burro and a dog named Gray Dog. As you can tell, all of these names are from Native American tradition and culture.

 

This is a coming-of-age story for the main character, Kee. His father is lost in the trek to Fort Sumner, and Kee must take on many attributes of a grown man. He is now the “man of the family”. Many changes take place in this story from the scenery of the South-west to the feelings this particular Native American family has towards the soldiers known as the “white man”. The family grows to realize that not all American soldiers are cruel. Even Kee, the character who at first resents the soldiers the most, befriends the son of the leader at Fort Sumner – Captain Harris.

 

Towards the end of the story, the Navajo, after a treaty with the U.S. Government, are allowed to return home to Arizona. After this point in the story, I found the ending a bit predictable. The father is described as waiting at home for his family’s return. He has spent time preparing food and shelter to welcome them home.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: This easy to read book does a great job describing the conditions in which the Navajo live in their home land as well as in their new surroundings. Weather, food, and shelter are all portrayed with vivid descriptions and examples. On page 87, one quote stood out in this respect – “meals often came from the tough stringy meat of an animal that had starved to death”. Now I liked the fact that there was a map at the very beginning of the story where I could refer to. Names that are not generally used today (ie. Eagle Feather, Long Earrings, Kee), may prove difficult for some students. It might be hard for students to keep track of the characters at the very beginning. A lesson about tradition and names could easily supplement this struggle.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.bringinghistoryhome.org/downloads/Fifth/5_NA_LessonsPlans.pdf

 

http://eduscapes.com/students/vachon.doc

 

http://www.desertusa.com/mag03/trails/trails09.html

 

http://education.nebrwesleyan.edu/eisenhower/partsites/northeastpage/safarik.html

 

http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=11978

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

 

February 10, 2008

Death Wind

Filed under: D — thebookreviews @ 10:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

Death Wind

Author: William Bell

Reading Level: 3.2

Page Length: 83

Genre: Realistic Fiction

 

PLOT SUMMARY & REVIEW: Allie, a teenage girl finds herself at a turning point in her life.  She can’t stand the daily fights her parents have, which are usually about her.  She is failing three classes, her boyfriend dumped her two weeks ago, and she has missed her period.  Decisions she makes at this point, could affect her life forever.  She feels her problems are too difficult to deal with at home, so she decides to run away with her 17 year old friend who is a professional skateboarder.  They too have obstacles to over come, but nothing prepared them for the storm that was about to hit.

 

This book deals with struggles that many teens face, parents, school, and dealing with decisions made, and those that need to be made.  Fate and Mother Nature pulls Allie back to her home town where she has to grow up quickly.   Will she do the right thing?

 

Death Wind is somewhat outdated and comes unraveled a bit too quickly through a series of climaxes that may leave the reader disappointed.  The dialogue is written by an adult trying to sound like a teenager and fails miserably.  The characters are stereotypical to the point they are nearly unbelievable, however, there is a message that can’t be ignored.  There are a few plot twists, that although they don’t stay tight, they do allow the reader to be engaged.  I found myself wanting to know if her parents are alive, and if they are, will they forgive her for her actions.  There are simple and complicated life lessons woven through out Death Wind, but are not treated in an adult nature and that could be a turn off to teens.  At the same time, it is a book to help uncover problems teens may have, but deal with it in a G rated manner. 

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: This is a good book for a classroom discussion because it is a short read and opens up sensitive (and typical) issues that teens may face.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

www.tornadoproject.com/misc/poetry.htm

www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/tornado/formation.html

 

www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/15/g35/tornadosafety.html

 

http://ibrary.thinkquest.org

 

www.coolnurse.com/pregnancy.htm

 

www.1800runaway.org

 

http://orca.powerwebbook.com/client/PDFs/TeachersGuides.pdf

 

REVIEWED BY: Stacy Campbell

 

 

February 9, 2008

The Summer of Riley

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 10:45 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Summer of Riley

Author: Eve Bunting

Reading Level: 4th

Page Length: 170

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMARY: After looking at the cover, I knew I would enjoy the book because it was a picture of a boy and a dog.  I inferred from the question on the cover that the boy and the dog experience some type of trauma. Since I recently lost my nine year old, maltese / yorkie, Sassy, I imagined I would be able to relate to the plot.  The story begins with William, the boy explaining that he got Riley, a lab/collie mix, two months after the death of his grandpa who had lived with him and his divorced mother on a farm.  William has a best friend, Grace, who is well-versed in her opinions.

 

The story is about an unfortunate incident in which Riley chases the neighbor, Peachie’s, aging racehorse.  Peachie lodges a complaint to the county commissioners against Riley. William and Grace begin a campaign to spare Riley’s life.  All of the town people become involved with their opinions.

 

Eve Bunting, the author, not only tells a story about a boy and his dog, but discusses the issues of divorce between William’s parents, political procedures and relationships between grade school friends.

 

I think both boys and girls would enjoy this book as independent reading for personal enjoyment.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6431059

 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

February 8, 2008

Wild Water: Floods

Filed under: W — thebookreviews @ 10:42 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Wild Water: Floods

Author: Tony Allan                                     

Page Length: 48

Reading Level: 5th

Genre:NonFiction                                                                   

 

REVIEW: Funny enough when I picked up this book, I turned to the back and read that the author had worked with a language consultant in writing it. The language consultant has worked in the area of special education.

 

When I flipped through the pages briefly I noticed that this was no ordinary book. I would classify it more as a modified textbook. The subject is about the various forms of water activity – specifically flooding.

 

This book is loaded with not only information in paragraph form but side-notes, foot-notes, diagrams, photographs, quotations, questions, newspaper articles, checklists, and brief facts.

 

Some of the pictures of individuals in flood situations were quite shocking. Many of the photographs seemed to have been taken from either newspaper articles or newscasts. There was everything from a man biking up to his knees in water to a family of eight stranded on a raft in the middle of a flood. I liked the fact that book explained flooding using examples from many countries around the world and not just the United States. I learned that flooding is a major problem in many areas. I also learned that flooding takes many forms.

 

One criticism of this book is that it took a little while for me to get used to the format of all the information scattered about. There were all sorts of facts and terms hidden through out each page. This made it difficult to concentrate initially. However, as the interest level of the book became apparent to me, I finished it with out any trouble.

 

Students with attention-issues may enjoy this book because the paragraphs are not long and there are so many small pieces of information to jump to when you are tired of reading the standard paragraphs.

 

One other thing that I enjoyed about this book was the fact that it not only had a glossary and index, but that some of the words in bold throughout the book were defined for you at the bottom of many of the pages.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: This is a great book because it explains a familiar subject you learn in science class in a new way. I learned many things I did not know before. This book would be a great way to supplement the instruction going on in a science class – especially to a student who struggles with the regular science textbook.

 

BOOK CONNECTIONS: This book is one in a series of books about natural disasters (ie. Earth Erupts: Volcanoes, Shaky Ground: Earthquakes)

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://weathereye.kgan.com/cadet/flood/teacher.html

 

http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/Flood_Website/general.htm

 

http://www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/index.shtm

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

February 7, 2008

Something Upstairs

Filed under: S — thebookreviews @ 10:38 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Something Upstairs

Author: Avi

Page Length: 119

Reading Level: 5th

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: This book started off with an “author’s explanation” of how he came to write this story. It seems that Avi, the author, was inspired by a child’s real experience with a ghost-like being. The story is set during the present in Providence, Rhode Island. This choice of setting intrigued me as part of my family is from this area. I didn’t realize though that residents of Rhode Island continued to take part in the slave trade from Africa to the U.S. South long after the slave trade was declared illegal. This fact along with several others in the initial chapters showed me that this story is not only shrouded in ghost-like mysteries but a little bit of history as well.

 

The main character is a child named Kenny who moves to Providence with his family. Their new home is actually an old one built in 1789. Kenny’s room ends up being a tiny room in the attic. It is here that Kenny discovers strange noises coming from an interior room. The noises turn out to be a ghost reaching out from a stained (bloody) floor. Kenny cannot believe his eyes! He is able to talk to the ghost who identifies himself as Caleb. The ghost also identifies himself as a slave and that his last memories are from August 17, 1800. Kenny investigates this recent event in the local library and discovers that around August 17, 1800 a slave named Caleb appeared to take his own life in a locked room inside the very house Kenny now lives. Upon reading this, Kenny agrees to help Caleb find his murderer by walking with him outside of his house. When the two of them do this, they are transported back to the year 1800. During this time they witness several people talking about the slave trade. Some are against it for moral reasons, and others are for it for financial reasons. There are many clues and actions in the chapters that follow that lead all the way up to the point in which Caleb is supposed to have died. However there is a twist.

 

Mr. Willinghast, who haunts the present day but lives during the 1800s forces Kenny to choose whether or not to kill Caleb. If Kenny kills Caleb, Kenny can return back to his own time. If he does not kill the slave, Kenny will remain in the past forever. Willinghast has power over Kenny in the form of Kenny’s key chain (an article from the present).

 

It is implied, at the end, that Kenny kills Mr. Willinghast. Then, Kenny returns to his own time. In a newspaper article at the conclusion of this story, it is stated that it was not Caleb that took his own life in a locked room, but rather Willinghast. The roles of the dead have reversed.

 

I enjoyed this story because it was fast-paced. The blending of history and suspense kept me interested from beginning until end. The role of Mr. Willinghast was a little confusing at first but at the end I got the gist of his purpose.

 

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: One note of caution: there is one word that is repeated several times on pages 88 and 89 that may cause offense to some people. Please preview this section (in the context of the whole story) before allowing students to read this book.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/faculty/riordan/someup.html

 

http://www.glc.k12.ga.us/trc/cluster.asp?mode=browse&intPathID=7582

 

http://www.smls.org/downloads/pdf/upstairs/

 

http://www.slavenorth.com/rhodeisland.htm

 

http://www.providenceri.com/RI_BlackHeritage/Historical_Highlights.html

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

February 6, 2008

Sounder

Filed under: S — thebookreviews @ 10:35 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sounder

Author: William H. Armstrong

Page Length: 116

Reading Level: 6th

Genre: Realistic / Historical Fiction

 

REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: This book is about an African-American family of unnamed characters. They live in poverty in a cabin on the far edge of a southern town during the 19th century. I loved the description of the under-belly of the cabin on page 42 when it stated, “it smelled stale and dead, like old carcasses and snakes”.  Present in the family are a father, mother, and several male and female siblings. The main character is referred to as “boy”. Another prominent character is a dog name Sounder. Sounder is coon dog that travels with the boy’s father as they attempt to hunt for food. Often times the father will return to the cabin empty-handed.

 

Quite rapidly the story changes from a simple tale about a poor family living in the south with their dog, to an account of a father who is caught stealing a ham for the family. As the father is being hauled away for this crime, Sounder gets caught in the commotion. Sounder is wounded and trails off into solitude leaving droppings of blood and a piece of his ear. This book lends itself well to a lesson on imagery.

 

The family is devastated that their father is being taken to jail only for the crime of trying to provide his family with a descent meal. We later find out that his punishment for stealing is years of working in labor camps. In addition to the loss of the father, Sounder’s absence is greatly felt by the boy. Day after day, the boy searches for Sounder in hopes that he will be re-united with the beloved dog. The boy spends the rest of his time attending to jobs in the field, searching for his father in labor camps, and dreaming of being able to read. Various references are made to the boy attempting to read town signs and store signs and newspapers out of the trash can. I really enjoyed the examples cited in this story about the excitement of a boy yearning to read.

 

Later on in the novel, Sounder returns. It is apparent though that he was badly wounded. He has one eye, the side of his face is badly altered, and he limps. Sounder’s spirit that was one present at the beginning of the book is now much more subdued.

 

Towards the end of the book, the boy meets a teacher who offers to help him with his studies. The boy begins to attend school while still helping out his family with work.

 

The story wraps up quickly with the return and death of the father, Sounder’s death, and the boy’s reflection on his continuing studies and life.

 

MOVIE CONNECTION: There is a movie of the same name (1972, 2003)

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00000886.shtml

 

http://www.webenglishteacher.com/armstrong.html

 

http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1936.html

 

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/armstrong.htm

 

REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton

February 5, 2008

States of Matter

Filed under: S — thebookreviews @ 10:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

States of Matter 

Author: Carol Baldwin

Reading Level: 4th

Page Length: 48

Genre: Non-fiction

 

REVIEW: In this easy to read fact filled book about the various states of matter, you will find awesome color photographs that instantly grab your attention and explain chemistry as it happens.  The photos, graphics, and illustrations, are very memorable from sculptures of dragons made of sand and ice, to the misty rain forest.  The reader will not soon forget the lesson being taught by them coupled with the short simple paragraphs, pop up boxes with facts, and arrows that guide you along.  There are so many things to move your eyes across, I strongly feel that students will not get bored with this book, and that is the most positive aspect of this Raintree Freestyle science book.   Baldwin also places “teasers” on various pages that encourage the reader to flip to other pages to find out the how and why things work.  Every two pages open to one big layout for a particular topic.  There are also boldface words that are defined at the bottom of the pages, and the definitions are clear and concise.

 

The table of contents is easy to read with large bold letters.  The thinness of the book gives the reader the sense that it is not going to be overwhelming. The first couple of pages allows the reader to know what to expect, and in the margins are more teasers about what you will learn in the following pages, along with small vivid photographs that instantly peak your interest.

 

The layout of the book is easy to understand, and the glossary and index in the final pages makes finding just what you need so simple it can be used as a resource over and over again.  In States of Matter the reader will learn about solids, liquids, gases and plasma.  For further study, Baldwin included a layout called Further Information where organizations are listed with websites, books to read, and key words to use when using search engines on the internet.  She even gives search tips, search engine examples, and explains where to search (using Google as an example) and defines a search directory.  This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about the states of matter.  I highly recommend it.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

www.sciencemadesimple.com

 

www.chem4kids.com

 

http://llnl.gov (to get science news from a national security laboratory)

 

REVIEWED BY: Stacy Campbell

 

February 4, 2008

True Sea Stories

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

True Sea Stories

Author:  Henry Brook

Page Length: 153

Reading Level: 7th

Genre: Non-fiction

 

REVIEW: True Sea Stories is a non-fiction book which is made up of 10 short stories of men and women challenged by the appeal of oceanic waters.  The stories range from the voyages of early explorers of the 16th century to 20th century sailors and adventure seekers.

 

Henry Brook’s approach to writing each story attracts attention immediately by throwing the reader into the peril of the voyage at hand.  He then follows the introduction with background information and explicit details of how each story ends. 

 

Especially interesting to me, was the story of the secret mission at the close of World War II of a ship, caring an atomic bomb to Japan.  The mission was so secret that when the ship wrecked, no one reported it had not arrived in port.  Four hundred sailors went into the ocean, only 130 came out, the others lost to sharks, starvation and desperation. 

 

MOVIE & HISTORICAL CONNECTIONS: This story was told in the movie “Jaws” and spurred the interest of a young boy to research the story in its entirety. This book would appeal to those who enjoy adventures like Titanic, navy battles, and Jacque Cousteau explorations. 

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: The specific stories in this book could be used as a supplement to geographical or historical studies.  Boys would enjoy this book more than girls.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://www.thedeckplate.com/sea-stories.htm

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?ie=UTF8&index=books&field-author=Paul%20Dowswell&page=1

 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.