The Book Reviews – Website

January 18, 2009

Belle Prater’s Boy

Belle Prater’s Boy

Author: Ruth White

Page Length: 196

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction         

PLOT SUMMARY: Belle Prater, Woodrow’s mother and Gypsy’s aunt, disappears one night without any explanation.  Woodrow, a rather backward boy, moves in with his grandparents who live next door to Gypsy’s more socially adapt family.  Gypsy is the town beauty but she feels invisible and hates her long beautiful hair. Although the townspeople try to find out what happened to Belle, Woodrow seems content and knows why his mother disappeared. He is a great storyteller and entertains his schoolmates and the family with his stories.  Gypsy and Woodrow become instant best friends. Gypsy wonders how Woodrow deals with the loss of his mother while she tries to come to grips with the death of her own father. 

REVIEW: This story is set in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky.  The author writes with local colloquial sayings that make the reader become familiar with the characters and their personalities.  It has mystery with touches of humor that also make it a very humanistic tale. The character development of Gypsy and Woodrow are excellent. The book is based on the friendship that develops between the two sixth graders and how the family deals with death and sorrow.

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: Gypsy’s father commits suicide and she discovers him as she looks through the living room window.  However, it is not too graphic for the junior high reader or the older reader to handle.

AREAS OF TEACHING: Theme, Conclusions, Generalizations, Predictions, Cause/Effect, Character, and Conflict

RELATED BOOKS: Journey, Comfort Creek, The Pinball’s, Holes

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: Cold Mountain (2003)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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