BRO

Nine-year-old Tugwell Dockery doesn’t speak. People think it’s because of the horrible train crash that killed his parents, but no, something he witnessed years ago made him mute. His older brother, Broda Joe Dockery, knows Tug is smart and knows he’ll talk again someday, but Bro is in prison for another year, though plotting an escape. Told from several rapidly shifting, third-person points of view, the story races along. A corrupt prison warden, a prison break, a swamp full of deadly gators and snakes, and mysterious terrors in Tug’s memory give the story a larger-than-life feel. The opening chapter is a model of sharp descriptive writing, and a later birthing scene is reminiscent of a famous episode in A Day No Pigs Would Die. Allusions to prison violence and a graphic scene out of Tug’s memory make this a work for an older audience. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-052974-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

RAMONA'S WORLD

Ramona returns (Ramona Forever, 1988, etc.), and she’s as feisty as ever, now nine-going-on-ten (or “zeroteen,” as she calls it). Her older sister Beezus is in high school, baby-sitting, getting her ears pierced, and going to her first dance, and now they have a younger baby sister, Roberta. Cleary picks up on all the details of fourth grade, from comparing hand calluses to the distribution of little plastic combs by the school photographer. This year Ramona is trying to improve her spelling, and Cleary is especially deft at limning the emotional nuances as Ramona fails and succeeds, goes from sad to happy, and from hurt to proud. The grand finale is Ramona’s birthday party in the park, complete with a cake frosted in whipped cream. Despite a brief mention of nose piercing, Cleary’s writing still reflects a secure middle-class family and untroubled school life, untouched by the classroom violence or the broken families of the 1990s. While her book doesn’t match what’s in the newspapers, it’s a timeless, serene alternative for children, especially those with less than happy realities. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16816-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

DAY OF TEARS

A NOVEL IN DIALOGUE

On a day when rain came down “hard as sorrow,” George Weems sets out to sell more slaves at one time than anyone ever had. Pierce Butler must sell off hundreds of slaves to cover gambling debts and 12-year-old Emma is one of his victims. Named after Lester’s grandmother, whose mother was a slave, Emma is part of a large cast of characters—slaves, owners, businessmen and abolitionists—who tell their own stories, in their own voices. Interludes occasionally have characters return in old age to reflect on their lives since the auction, a brilliant technique that demonstrates, in some characters, the persistence of racist belief. Other, good-hearted, characters, white and black, act towards each other with respect and dignity and affirm the possibilities of conscience and common humanity even in the worst of times. This important novel, based on an actual slave auction in 1859, begs to be performed, though teachers and performers may be hesitant to utter the racist language of the day. Powerful theater and one of Lester’s finest works. (cast of characters, author’s note) (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-0490-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more