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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it as a kid, love it even more now.
Sixteen-year-old Rudi Matt works as a hotel dishwasher in the 19th Century Swiss village of Kurtal. Every day of his life he's stared up at the Citadel, the one remaining unclimbed peak in the Alps. Fifteen years ago three men tried that climb. One, the hotel cook who is Rudi's boss, came back crippled. Two were carried down dead: Guide Josef Matt, Rudi's father, and his...
Published on August 28, 2005 by Nina M. Osier

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid, manly, adventure story--with some negative elements worthy of discussion.
I have mixed feelings about this book, so I'll deal with the positive first, and then the negative.

The book is about a young man, Rudi Matt, who lives in the village of Kurtal, a small village at the foot of the Alps. Mountaineering is in the blood of every man in the village, and every nearby peak has been conquered...except for the last and greatest peak,...
Published on March 3, 2012 by Kyle Shepherd


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it as a kid, love it even more now., August 28, 2005
By 
Nina M. Osier (Augusta, ME USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
Sixteen-year-old Rudi Matt works as a hotel dishwasher in the 19th Century Swiss village of Kurtal. Every day of his life he's stared up at the Citadel, the one remaining unclimbed peak in the Alps. Fifteen years ago three men tried that climb. One, the hotel cook who is Rudi's boss, came back crippled. Two were carried down dead: Guide Josef Matt, Rudi's father, and his "herr" or client, a great English mountaineer.

Rudi understands why his mother forbids him to follow his father's profession, even though her brother - Rudi's Uncle Franz - is one of Kurtal's most successful guides. Rudi will learn the hotel business, first in Kurtal and later in Zurich. His mother has already given one man to the Citadel and its fabled demons. She won't risk giving another. But Rudi can't help himself. He has to climb. When he meets another famous English mountaineer, Captain John Winter - and proves his strength and skill by saving Winter's life - it's only a matter of time. The Citadel waits to be climbed, and Josef Matt's son knows he's the man who must climb it.

This is another re-read for me, a book I loved in girlhood and find myself loving even more many years later. BANNER IN THE SKY started me reading mountaineering books despite my personal hatred for both heights and cold weather, and I've savored many such tales - some true life, some fictional - since then. This remains my personal favorite in the latter category. It's smoothly yet colorfully written, and anyone whose youthful dreams a careful parent couldn't share is sure to experience Rudi's coming of age right along with him.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid, manly, adventure story--with some negative elements worthy of discussion., March 3, 2012
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Hardcover)
I have mixed feelings about this book, so I'll deal with the positive first, and then the negative.

The book is about a young man, Rudi Matt, who lives in the village of Kurtal, a small village at the foot of the Alps. Mountaineering is in the blood of every man in the village, and every nearby peak has been conquered...except for the last and greatest peak, the Citadel. No man has succeeded in climbing this one perilous peak that dwarfs all others around it. Josef Matt led an expedition fifteen years ago, but of the three men, two died in the attempt (including Josef) and the third was badly injured. Despite popular beliefs and fears about the mountain being cursed, Rudi dreams of conquering the mountain and fulfilling his father's quest.

In the past fifteen years, no one has tried to climb the mountain--and anyone who gives any serious thought about doing so is considered crazy and foolish--and no one besides Rudi gives it serious thought. However, things change when renowned climber Captain John Winter arrives at Kurtal: he is determined to climb the Citadel, and Rudi is equally determined to go with him. Thus the catalyst for the adventure.

It's a great read, and the literal cliff-hangers held my rapt attention, even though I'm nineteen. The trials and obstacles of mountain climbing are presented well, and the reader walks away (or should I say "climbs down") from the book with a good sense of what it's like to be a mountaineer. That is, as close as one can get to actually clinging to the near-vertical edge of a rock with a few fingers and the toe of one boot--with a yawning mile-deep empty space below.

The above praise aside, the book is nevertheless tainted to some extent. Rudi is obsessed with climbing the mountain, to the point where his attitude ultimately becomes, as I see it, mountain-worship--resulting, unsurprisingly, in lying to his mother (who specifically does not want Rudi to become a mountaineer because of what happened to her husband, Josef) on multiple occasions. And not just Rudi, either: other characters also lie to cover up the Citadel endeavor. Mrs. Matt's wishes are not taken seriously, and are in fact blatantly disregarded in favor of Rudi's desire to be a mountaineer.

Unfortunately, these issues are not resolved. I was holding out hope that somehow the author would deal with them, but as I drew nearer and nearer to the end I realized that even if there were going to be a reconciliation, it would be a rather shallow resolution (forced so because of the ever-shrinking remainder of the book), with a sort of "Oh, by-the-way, I'm sorry" afterthought effect--almost tacked on to the end.

It's unfortunate that all these elements taint the book. Were it not for them, I could wholeheartedly recommend the story as a great tale of manly mountaineering and adventures in exercising dominion over Creation. However, I won't specifically not recommend it; I think there is a place for books like these in a library (though I won't expound that idea here).

With all the preceding in mind, I recommend this book as a solid, manly, adventure story--with some negative elements worthy of discussion.

INDECENCY: None.
LANGUAGE: Three or four occurrences of d--n, and three or four instances of the Lord's name being used carelessly.
DISCUSSION POINTS: As a parent (or an older sibling), you can talk with the reader about the lying that goes on in the book.--What does the Bible say about it?--Are there situations where lying is acceptable?
AGE RANGE: I'm nineteen, and I enjoyed it. That said, because of the language I'd let my children read this book somewhere around twelve years, at the youngest. (Ultimately, though, it boils down to the potential reader's maturity.)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Courage, December 17, 2004
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
I gave this book, Banner in the Sky, five stars because it was very absorbing and suspenseful. I liked this book because it showed how much a little boy was dedicated to climbing a mountain. He wanted to climb the mountain because his father wanted to prove it could be done, and in the process he died. What made me read faster and faster was that at every time I turned the page questions kept popping in my head. The questions were, "Will he listen to his mother or will he not?", "If he doesn't listen to his mother will his surprise acquaintance help him?", and, last but not least, "If he doesn't listen to his mother will he succeed?" My heart was beating faster and faster by the second as I read. It's a book you won't want to put down until you read from cover to cover.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unclimbable Peak, April 13, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
A Banner in the Sky is an adventure about a kid named Rudi who tries to climb the greatest mountain in the world. His father, who was the greatest mountaineer even attempted to climb it 15 years before him but failed and died. Rudi's father died when Rudi was very young so, Rudi didn't have any feelings for the death.

This book was the best book I've ever read. Every page was fulled with excitement, and interesting events. I never wanted to put this book down it was so good. I read it as fast as I can and finished it in one day.

This book reminded me of a few things. The mountain that Rudi climbed was like present day Mt.Everest. Also this book reminded me about when my aunt died I was very imature and young and I didn't understand her death; kind of like how Rudi's father died and he didn't understand his death.

The setting of the book took place in multiply places. The main setting was on the mountain. Mr.Ullman used great description to describe the mountain. I good picture the mountain so clearly in my mind. The book also took place in the town under the mountain. The town contained a hotel for tourists, many mountaineer shops, and houses for the people living there. The people living in the town got all their money form the tourist. There was only one main character in Banner in the Sky. The main character is Rudi. Rudi has a lot of heart and courage. The mountaineers said that he was to small to climb and he would never be like his father but he never listened to them and climbed the greatest mountain of all time. Banner in the Sky has one Newberry award and it also been a movie. James Ramsey Ullman was born in NYC in 1907. He is a write, world traveler, and a mountaineer. He was on the 1st voyage on Mt.Everest. I would recommend this book to kids over 5th grade that can read long books.

Banner in the Sky is a great book. I could read it several times. This book shows the courage of a boy on a voyage that no man can do; climbing the unclimbable mountain.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tattered red shirt has never symbolized so much!, January 6, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Hardcover)
Banner In The Sky is an amazing acount of a fictional mountain climbing expedition based in historical accounts of the conquer of the Matterhorn. The protagonist, 16-year-old Rudi Matt, is forced to wash dishes in a hotel instead of following his true dream; climbing the Citadel, the very mountain that had claimed his father's life fifteen years ago. The antagonist is, obviously, the Citadel herself, the last unconquered peak in the area. Although an overprotective mother and uncle also get in the way of Rudi's dream. When Rudi finally gets a chance to join the expedition up the mountain, he shows everyone that he is determined to complete the journey his father started. Rudi's journey is a journey of faith and stamena and also forgiveness and loyalty. These values are all summed up in the red shirt that Rudi carries with him to place at the peak of the Citadel; the very shirt his father wore the night he died before giving it up so that another man could live.
This book is all about following your dreams, but also about the fact that one must work hard to achieve those dreams. James Ramsey Ullman combines history with an extraordinary account of the happenings in the small village of Kurtall in the Swiss Alps.
For me the highlight of the book was a Rudi's nighttime encounter with the spirit of his father as he sits in the very spot that claimed his father's life. A chilling and magical scene.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ, February 10, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
I think that this book was an awesome book and the suspense will keep bringing you back and the amazing things that happen in this book raise the suspense when you have to stop reading. But what amazes me the most is how much happens in the small town where this book takes place and how the main character Rudi Matt and his family take the death of Rudi's father. Another reason I think this book is great is all the mountain climbing and how it describes the main idea of the book and how to climb mountains. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get an idea of how mountain climbing works and anyone who wants to read a book that has lots of suspense.

BY RYAN DAVID CRACKLE
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M-DOG'S REIVIEW, February 10, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
Banner in the Sky is a very exillerating book with the odd cliff hanger. Rudi Matt, the main character, demonstrates honour, courage and plenty of strength throughout the novel to overcome the challenges he faces. The novel includes both happiness and sadness as it is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, especially for Rudi and his mother. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes rock climbing and a thrilling book that keeps you on the tip of your seat for most of the ride.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I guess you can say this book changed my life., January 14, 2010
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
I was 13 the first time I heard about this book, it was on a PBS show where a guy read part of a book while another guy sketched out the scene. It captured my interest so I went to the library and found it there and I was hooked. After reading "Banner in the Sky" I developed a tremendous interest in climbing and would often imagine myself in Rudy Matt's climbing boots scaling the mighty Citadel. I went on to become quite a rock climber and while I never conquered any major peaks, "Banner in the Sky" led me to appreciate not only climbing but everything invloving the outdoors. That was 37 years ago and I still have a copy of this book that I open every so often to read and remember the lift that this book gave to my spirit. I highly recommend this book to young people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars E.B Gr 7 7R ccps, February 9, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
I think this book was pretty awsome. This book can be exciting at times and also sad at times. The book was boring at some times because there is a bit of talking but other than that is really exciting. I would recomend this book to people 7 and up because there is some hard words but not to hard and I think that people who like guns and killing that this isn't for you because this book is about the mountains and climbing them although some people do get hurt its not blood guts anbd gore.well i wont tell you too much about the book so you will just have to read the book yourself.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Book Ever!, February 24, 2000
By 
This review is from: Banner in the Sky (Paperback)
My friend told me that Banner in the Sky is a very good book, well I'm here to vouch for that. Banner in the Sky is the most intriguing story I have ever read. James R. Ullman's book is about a legend, named Josef Matt, whose son is determined to climb the mountain that Josef died on. If Rudi Matt can do this, if he can climb the Citadel, he will be the first one ever to climb it. But in all good stories there's a catch, Rudi's mom and uncle won't let him climb the mountain because of his father's death. Plus Rudi is not built to climb! Along the way Rudi meets Captain John Winter, the best climber of his day. The Captain gives Rudi his chance to climb, but will he? Banner in the sky is a gut-wrenching story about sheer will and determination. My recommendation, simple, if you ever have had parental problems (and I know you have) then this is your book!
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Banner in the Sky
Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman (Paperback - April 15, 1988)
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