Books by Paula Goodman Koz

Released: Oct. 1, 2008

The ease of playing baseball with best friends, tagging along on wild turkey hunts and shooting bottles with his BB gun in the fields of his dairy-farm home in Tennessee is interrupted after 11-year-old Aaron Cash and his father stumble across an illegal still. When his father refuses to sell part of his land to Morgan Blackburn, the still's quiet, angry owner, Morgan seeks revenge in violent ways. Aaron and his younger sister, Shelley, try to understand Morgan's motives, but it is only readers, through brief descriptions of Morgan's childhood, who discover the source of his discontent. This short novel leaves little room for Aaron to grow when he faces Morgan's final wrath and saves his father from death. The stilted dialogue and flat narration focus instead on didactic lessons in character ("Oh," said Shelley. "But that's still wrong, isn't it?") and past traditions ("I was just thinking. Do you know how butter used to be made?"). Koz's lackluster woodcuts fail to save this uninspiring text. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >