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ROPE BURN by Jan Siebold


by Jan Siebold

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8075-7109-1
Publisher: Whitman

Siebold gives an 11-year-old boy the chance to gain a better understanding of himself and his family through effective use of a well-worn device—a class assignment. To fulfill a school requirement, Richard, 11, redefines well-known proverbs, then uses them as a framework to talk about the fears and feelings unleashed by his parents’ recent divorce and his move to a new neighborhood. Filled with realistic dialogue and subtle humor, each short chapter offers a simple yet thought-provoking story about a different aspect of Richard’s life. He writes about being the “new kid” in an unfamiliar school, becoming best friends with James, overcoming his fear of climbing the rope in gym class, feeling guilty about “secret weekends” with his father, and attending a funeral service for the first time. From the first sentence (“I hate writing”) to the last, the tone of the book is engaging and true to life; Richard not only gains understanding, but discovers his own voice as well. (Fiction. 9-12)