The Book Reviews – Website

December 19, 2010

The Boxer

Filed under: T — thebookreviews @ 11:13 pm
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The Boxer by Kathleen Karr: Book Cover

The Boxer

Author: Kathleen Karr

Page Length: 169

Reading Level: 4

Genre: Historical Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: It’s the late 1800s and times are hard for John and his family. His father has run off, his mother barely makes enough money to get by, and he’s left trying to support his brothers and sisters. Tired of struggling, John decides to try to win the prize money in a fight – there’s only one catch – fighting is illegal. John winds up in the slammer for six months, but it’s in jail that he truly learns what it means to be a champion. Never giving up his love for boxing and determined to provide well for his family, John Woods overcomes the odds to become a famous boxer.

REVIEW: This was interesting read. John’s warm heart and love for his family above himself is an excellent lesson to promote to teenagers. The theme of perseverance and survival in the book is wonderfully and vividly presented. Readers get a feel for the economic circumstances of the time, the limitations imposed by one’s class, and the determination it takes to prevail during hard times. John never gives up on his dreams, his family, or his ethics. This book is a good read and would likely appeal to boys – with its boxing sequences and blow by blow descriptions.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: historical connections, connecting text to self, connecting text to text, cause and effect, sequence of events, compare and contrast

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: boxing, incarceration, betting

RELATED BOOKS: Fortune’s Fool, Born For Adventure, World’s Apart, Mama Went to Jail for the Vote, The 7th Knot, Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free


“Rocky” movies

Boxing paintings –


REVIEWED BY:  Dayna Taylor

December 7, 2008

Bone the Great Cow Race #2

Filed under: B — thebookreviews @ 11:16 pm
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Bone The Great Cow Race #2

Author: Jeff Smith

Page Length: 132

Reading Level: 3

Genre: Fiction-Graphic Novel      

PLOT SUMMARY: The three cousins find each other and visit with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben in the village of Barrelhaven. They plan to leave the village and return to Boneville, but when Phoney learns of the Great Cow Race that is about to be held, he conjures up a scheme to “get rich quick”.  He convinces Smiley to compete as the “mystery cow” in the race.  He convinces many of the townspeople to bet on the mystery cow and against Gran’ma Ben, who usually wins the race.  Fone is rather romantically taken with Thorn, but she does not appear to have the same feelings for him.  The rat creatures are lurking in the background and the reader can tell that more than just a cow race is around the corner.

REVIEW: This is the second of the Bone series.  Jeff Smith continues to develop the characters and include adventure, intrigue and mystery.  I feel this graphic novel series resembles the The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books.  If you enjoyed reading those books, you would enjoy the Bone saga.

AREAS OF TEACHING: Sequence of Events, Character

RELATED BOOKS: Bone-Out From Boneville, Eye of the Storm, The Dragon Slayer, Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Shore, Old Man’s Cave, Ghost Circles, Treasure Hunters, and Crown of Thorns

MOVIE & TV CONNECTIONS: The Simpson’s (TV series), Harry Potter (movie series), The Lord of the Rings (movie series)


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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