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Almost Forever Hardcover – August 11, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st edition (August 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763619965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763619961
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 4.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,832,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-This simple narrative about a father who goes to war in Vietnam unfolds in spare free verse. Told from a child's point of view, the story is hauntingly universal: "I don't want to forget what you look like," her daddy says as he is departing. Although he reassures his family that a year will pass quickly, and that by the time he returns she will be seven and in the second grade, the girl thinks: "I did not tell Daddy that he was wrong- that second grade was half a hallway and a whole world away from first, -and that one year was forever." The daily rituals hold the mother and her children together: walking to the post office, watching Roger Mudd on the news, nightly prayers. There is tension in the novel when the father's letters stop, but the celebration at the end as he steps off the plane will have readers rejoicing, too. This is a tender, insightful story from a perspective too often ignored-that of a soldier's child.
Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-5. In this spare novel written in free verse, a first-grade child speaks of the year her father is drafted to serve as a doctor in Vietnam: saying goodbye, missing him, watching the news of war, reading his daily letters home, and then the terror when his letters stop coming because, "They have / no idea / where he is." In the end, he does come home, and the intense family reunion at the airport is both joyous and a reminder of those who have not returned. Always true to the six-year-old girl's voice and viewpoint, the small poems express her personal experience and also provide a glimpse of the war at home as the anti-war demonstrators move from party fun to anger and sorrow. The time is 1967, but kids will recognize the parallels with soldiers serving now. With very few words on a page, this small book is an accessible read-aloud as well as a good cross-curricular title for middle-school units on the 1960s. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on July 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It is Christmas time in 1967 and a family is decorating the Christmas tree. Out of the blue a letter arrives telling the family that "Daddy" must serve in Vietnam as a doctor to the soldiers fighting there. Christmas seems to disappear. In fact, the warmth of life seems to vanish and is replaced with "Do Not" signs and worry for Daddy.
Each small chapter tells a story about what that year was like, as seen through the eyes of a child. The young narrator and her brother observe so many small things that an adult probably would miss. For example, the children notice that all of Daddy's army things are green. The brother asks his sister "What's not your favorite color?" to which she answers "Green." They hate the color that is taking their father from them.
As we read the short 'pictures' of that lonely year, we get a feel for the family's daily life. For the two children and their mother, the highlight of their days becomes reading Daddy's letters. The letters are their way of knowing that he is safe and doing well. For their mother the newsman on television becomes someone special because he gives her news about what is happening in Vietnam. Sometimes, when the family goes to the park to play, they see demonstrators there. These are the kinds of things that happen from day to day and from week to week.
But then normality and routine cease and Daddy is declared "missing." What follows is a dreadful time. Testa takes us into the hearts and souls of this terrified family and we can only sit on the edge of our seats and hope. We are able to feel the suffering and despair of this family and understand how war is the servant of generals and the heartbreak of civilians.
With delicacy, sensitivity and extraordinary imagination, Testa once again proves herself to be an exceptional wordsmith and has created a book that could be telling the story of any family, at any time, living through any war.
--- Reviewed by Marya Jansen-Gruber (mjansengruber@mindspring.com)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luxorien on December 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was intrigued by this book's cover and quite touched by the excerpt on the back, but I didn't read it until a coworker told me how much she enjoyed it. I was surprised and delighted to find a children's book written in verse; children get too little exposure to poetry these days, it seems.
This little story could have easily been sappy and overly sentimental, but it is not. It is truthful and affecting. I like the way the lines are put together, the imagery used and the raw emotions conveyed with such touching understatement. I think this is an excellent read for children and adults.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I liked this book for many reasons,but I wont talk about all of them.I liked this book because it was short. Almost Forever was only 69 pages.The book was about a dad that goes to vietnam and leaves his family behindand this is another reason I liked this book , it makes you relize what life without a dad is like.This book talks about what the children think and since I am a child I thought that was interesting.
The worst part of amost forever was when they talked about the old man at the second window giving them lollipops .I didnt think that was very important it had nothing to do with the theme of the story.
The most vivid part of this bookwas when the little girl was saying how her brother would kiss the picture of their dad until you couldnt see his face anymore.Another vivid part was when the little girl was asking her brother if he thought their dad knew what they were doing.The brother would always say no bout the little girl just kept asking more and more questions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ranchwoman on March 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eight year old granddaughter had aready read a library copy but wanted her personal copy to keep "forever".
Now she wants more books from this writer.
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