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Walking to School Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 8, 2008

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 8, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Bunting addresses the complicated relations in Northern Ireland. Narrated by Allison, a Catholic, the story effectively captures the child's trepidation and confusion, particularly as she has learned that a favorite uncle has committed violent acts. A Protestant girl's act of kindness during her frightening walk to school leads her to conclude, "I think we could be friends…. If the grownups would let us." The book does an excellent job of presenting the situation from a child's perspective without demonizing either side, but adults sharing it must be prepared for the inevitable questions as to why such tensions exist, as no background or history is presented in either the story itself or the author's note. Dooling's oil-on-canvas illustrations are realistic enough to resemble stills from documentary footage. Little on this situation is available for children, but do be prepared for those questions.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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From Booklist

Walking a gauntlet of Protestant hecklers to her new school is scary for Allison, a Catholic child in Northern Ireland. Worse, she worries that the uncle who accompanies her enjoys the violence. In spite of the mob and confusion, she and a young bystander make a connection: “I think we could be friends. . . . If the grownups would let us.” This picture book for older readers is beautifully depicts the centuries-old friction between Catholics and Protestants, which, as late as 2001, affected schoolchildren. Dooling’s oil-on-canvas paintings, reminiscent of Norman Rockwell but with an underlying tension, are beautifully reproduced on large-scale, double-page spreads, and the dark palette reinforces the story’s themes of struggle. An afterword briefly summarizes the historical background. This is a poignant reminder that first days of school are not always a cause for celebration, and teachers may want to connect this title with titles such as Eileen Lucas’ Cracking the Wall (1998) about the Little Rock Nine. The book closes with an additional plea for peace. Grades 2-4. --Kathleen Isaacs

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (September 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618261443
  • ASIN: B005IUP6UQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,240,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eve Bunting has written more than 200 books for children, many of which can be found in libraries around the world. Her other Clarion titles for very young readers include My Big Boy Bed, which was also illustrated by Maggie Smith, and Little Bear's Little Boat, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. She lives in Pasadena, California.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Books Come Alive on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is what all picture books should be. A perfect blend of words and pictures makes this story come alive! Eve Bunting's lilting words and Michael Dooling's breathtaking pictures are like being there!
I am currently preparing to use this for presentations with 5th and 6th graders, middle schoolers,parents and teachers.
I am a storyreader or, as Eve Bunting would say, a Shanachie. I tour schools around the country and I can't wait to use this one!!
Jim McKenna,[...]
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Format: Hardcover
Allison, still a bit sleepy-eyed looking, was lying in bed thinking about how much Protestants and Catholics hated each other. She was wondering if Northern Ireland was like the rest of the world . . . "Allison, love. Time to get up." Ugh. It was only the second day of school and she didn't feel like getting up, let alone going there. She forced herself to get up and put on her school uniform. She didn't like school, she didn't like the uniform and sometimes she was just scared. She did like her "lucky tiger's-eye marble" though. She won that from John Sweeney. It was her "most favorite thing."

She sat down to breakfast and cringed when her mother said Uncle Frank was coming by. She overheard him talking about Liam Connors, who just happened to end up beaten to a pulp. Her opinion of him was changing even though she loved him. No, no, no . . . she didn't want to go to school. Yesterday the Protestants spit at them going to school. A "big gob of it hit Annie McGowan's shoulder and sat there, all frothy and bubbly, till her mum wiped it off." They started their walk to school. "Eyes straight ahead!" her mother shouted. She clutched her lucky marble. They started to scream, cuss and someone grabbed and her tearing a button from her blazer. Were they going to even make it to school?

This is a beautifully told tale of the Northern Ireland conflict between the Unionist and Nationalist communities and children like Allison, a Catholic, who had to walk through a Protestant community to reach school. The sweeping and poignant illustrations are very realistic and add a lot to the story. In the back of the book is a one page summary of the "real" incident that occurred many years ago. If you are interested in the political or religious history of Ireland, you may wish to pick up a copy of this story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kay on May 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great read to show kids and adults alike what "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland were like. Eve Bunting was in Northern Ireland at that time, so this book has credibility. Good message, especially when the two children from each side meet each other.
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Some of the language in this story I edited when I read it to my 9 year old but the story is powerful. I want my children to appreciate how fortunate they are to attend a school where they can practice their religion daily, without persecution, in a community that is relatively open minded.
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