The Book Reviews – Website

January 17, 2008

Crazy Lady

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Crazy Lady!

Author: Jane Leslie Conly

Page Length: 180

Reading Level: 5th

 

REVIEW: Wow! This book was very well written. The characters deal with a myriad of issues. Conly is an expert at appealing to ones emotions and helping the reader to understand motivations behind people’s actions. The reader becomes so engrossed in plot development that they might not realize they are learning a valuable life lesson: don’t judge a book by its cover.

 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: The story is an excellent teaching tool for looking at character development, analyzing elements of plot, and applying universal truisms (philosophical statements) to everyday life. The tone is sad at times, but the message is clear: we must take the time to truly understand each other lest we make false judgments, and we must realize that everyone has their burdens to bear and their stories to tell – our lives will be enriched if only we take the time to listen and learn.

 

PLOT SUMMARY: Vernon is a young man struggling to pass the seventh grade. In addition to his academic struggles are his personal ones. He struggles to feel important in his large family. He struggles to find a reason for his mother’s death and to find his way without her.  Vernon’s neighborhood is filled with colorful characters, most notably Ronald and Maxine. Maxine is the “crazy lady” who roams the streets in wild outfits and screams and hollers at everyone she encounters along the way. Ronald is her mentally challenged son who doesn’t speak and seems afraid whenever he and his mother are out. Vernon befriends Maxine and Ronald and becomes engulfed in their struggles to survive. Ronald’s teacher and social services are always checking up on them. Through his friendship with these two, the help of kindly neighbor who becomes his tutor, and the support of his family Ronald finds his way as he helps Ronald and becomes his sponsor for the Special Olympics. He begins to understand what love means to him and those around him and how far they will go to protect and provide for the ones they love.

 

RELATED WEBSITES:

 

http://eduscapes.com/newbery/94b.html

 

http://www.childrensbookguild.org/conly.html

 

http://www.harperchildrens.com/webcontent/teachers_guides/pdf/0064405710.pdf 

 (GREAT teacher’s guide)

 

www.specialolympics.org

 

REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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