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Wart, Son Of Toad [Kindle Edition]

Alden R. Carter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It’s not Steve’s fault that his dad is the most hated teacher at school, nicknamed the Toad. What the kids at school don’t know is that Steve’s dad is even harder on Steve than he is on his students. And that his dad has been miserable ever since Steve’s mom and sister died in a car crash three years ago. Most of the kids don’t even know Steve’s real name – they just call him Wart, Son of Toad. Steve’s failing most of his classes, and the auto mechanics program he wants to get into is looking like an impossible dream. Not that it matters, anyway: the Toad would never sign off on his son fixing cars. Steve and his dad may live in the same house, but they exist on completely different planets. And then there’s Trish, the one person who actually understands Steve – but she’s in love with someone else.

First published in 1985, Alden R. Carter’s Wart, Son of Toad is a powerful, acclaimed story about love, loss, and taking control of your own destiny.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10 Steve Michaels (Wart) is the unhappy son of an unhappy, unpopular science teacher whom the students have christened "Toad." The two live together in great tension three years following the accidental death of the boy's mother and younger sister. "The Toad" vents his frustrations onto his students, who in turn taunt his son. But Steve has other problems. He's the non-academic son of a demanding father. He wants to follow his natural bent and become a mechanic, the sole area where he is both happy and successful. Neither father nor son seems able to help the other. As Steve puts it, "We were connected by blood and the past, but no real lines of communication." The resolution of this problem, as well as several connecting story lines including a romantic angle, is nicely done. Carter is strong on characterizationreaders can connect with any of his readily recognizable peopleand Steve is a refreshing protagonist. Bewildered, afraid and sometimes angry, he comes far closer to reality than some of the overly-wise, sophisticated teenagers of many of today's novels and TV programs. Steve's first-person narrative is sprinkled with profanities; he is an unhappy young man expressing his frustrations realistically and in tune with his character. The father, with his faults uncovered, is nonetheless presented with empathy. In all, a good performance. Robert Unsworth, Scarsdale Junior School High Library, N.Y.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Alden Carter's thirty-year career includes publication of novels for young adults and adults, nonfiction books on a wide range of topics, and picture books for and about special needs children. Alden lives in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Visit him on the web at

Product Details

  • File Size: 467 KB
  • Print Length: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape (January 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007GCYD9E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,017 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic with a contemporary theme December 18, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
How do parents and children deal with the loss of a family member? In this case, it's two. Steve lost his Mom and little sister in a car crash just a few months ago.

And now Steve is going to high school where his Dad teaches. It's not a good situation any way you look at it--particularly when his Dad is the least-liked teacher in the whole school. They call his Dad "Toad" because of all the warts on his hands. Since Steve's his son, they call him "Wart." Hardly anyone knows his real name except the teachers.

"Wart, Son of Toad" is well-written. You're quickly immersed in Steve's world and you can see how his situation is going headlong into wrong--and every page hoping he can pull it together. This is an engaging book for readers of all ages who're interested in tough situations in a coming-of-age novel.

Rebecca McFarland Kyle, December 2012
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated But Interesting December 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is the story of Steve, a boy who is close to flunking out of high school. His mother and sister died in a car crash. His father is a teacher at his school who is very hard on the other kids. Steve has issues with bullying at the school, and there's a minor plot line involving a girl he likes.

The biggest thing you need to know about this book is that it was written in 1985. Some books are timeless, but this book is not one of them. This book feels extremely dated. I graduated in the late 90s and it feels dated compared to when I was in high school. There is a dedicated smoking area for the students at school. The teachers smoke in front of the kids. Steve discusses having to take a 'typing' class in high school and not knowing what he'd ever use that for. Even as a child of the eighties, I found the representation of the time a little bit off. It's almost as if the writer related experienced from his own teenage years much earlier then tried to modernize it to the eighties but somewhat failed. Although the theme of different teen social groups not getting along is universal, I think teens of today would have difficulty imagining a world where teens are ostracized because their hair is a little bit long. This issue is going to put a barrier between the teen reader and relating to the characters in the book.

That being said, the book characters are quite likable. I found that I didn't want to put the book down because I wanted to read more about these characters. Unfortunately, the plot never really took off or got that interesting. The tension at the beginning of the book is present throughout the book, but nothing new or exciting really happens. It's just more and more of the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above Average Young Adult Novel Aimed At Boys December 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
WART SON OF TOAD may have been published in 1985 but I think many teens will relate to the timeless themes. Steve (Wart) is the narrator and at sixteen he has plenty of problems. His mother and only sibling were killed in a tragic accident and he and his father have a strained relationship that is worsening. His father is the unpopular Biology teacher at the same high school he attends and Steve is nicknamed Wart while his father is nicknamed Toad and these names are not used kindly. Steve has drifted in to a low ranking high school group known as the "dirts" who are a target of the popular "jocks", his grades have slipped and the only area where he excels is his auto mechanics class which disappoints his father who is having more and more difficulty coping with his teaching position as well as his unresolved grief.

Things do almost unbelievably improve for the father/son pair by the end of the book though overall the storyline is quite realistic. As other reviewers say Steve and his friends smoke pot and tobacco and Steve drinks beer at sixteen with his father which may raise a few eyebrows. The Western Wisconsin small city setting is well rendered and many things about Steve's high school will seem familiar even to 21st century readers. This book is being reissued as a Marshall Cavendish Classic and is well deserving of this new chance to attract teen readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High School Defined April 29, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was pleasantly surprised to realize how much I liked "Wart, Son of Toad" by Alden R. Carter, a novel originally published in 1985. Even though there are some things that date this novel - certain slang words and phrases - the central story and message hold true for high school students today. Carter captured a perfect slice of what high school life can be like for those on the fringes.

Steve Michaels is a sophomore with barely passing grades, few friends, and a widowed father who continues to live in the past. His only passion is fixing cars and he hopes against hope that he can attain a C average to get into Capstone, a vocational training school. He's certain his dad, a high school biology teacher, un-affectionately known as Toad, won't agree. Steve is a "dirt", someone on the fringes who smokes and doesn't care about school and its cliques, and he has trouble with his classmates, who refer to him as Wart, especially the "jocks" who dislike his dad and take out their aggression on him. As these problems increase and his grades slip, Steve feels his life spinning out of control. Ever since the death of his mom and sister three years ago, his dad has become unbearable, railing on Steve for the most minor infractions. Combine this with his problems at school and typical teenage hormones and angst, Steve is having a pretty awful time. He's certain his dream is unattainable and he doesn't know how he can survive with his father any longer, but neither are willing to cede any ground.

"Wart, Son of Toad" is an engaging read. Alden Carter masterfully explores the broken relationship between a father and son who want very different things for their lives. It is full of surprises and feels fresh for being almost thirty years old. I think any adult can recognize their high school years in this novel and that today's teenagers can relate to someone who doesn't quite fit the mold and is bullied because of it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Middle Schoolers Must-Read
What I enjoyed about this book was that it showed how this young boy, Wart, handles his peers through challenging circumstances. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Joseph Roybal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I got this for myself and then bought more copies as gifts. A great read. The characters are realistic and must have gone to my high school. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Jim Tigger
5.0 out of 5 stars Wart, Son of Toad
This is a book that all school children should read. The connection between a father and son, the cruety of bullies and just everyday life of teens. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Phyllis A. D. Amore
5.0 out of 5 stars Human, funny, heartbreaking...
As the child of a superintendent of schools, this book was especially poignant. My dad was a class A jerk and I was pleased that this child and dad were able to come to resolution. Read more
Published on May 18, 2013 by K. Ketcham
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good
This book did not have a real plot outline. It also was not very exciting. There were parts that I came to when I was waiting for something to happen but nothing did.
Published on May 14, 2013 by Peyton Walters
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Nice easy reading book about growing up. Also about a father and a son learning about each other and coming to accept a tragic loss in their lives.
Published on May 13, 2013 by Susie Landrum
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written...I think my wife (the psychologist) will enjoy reading...
Had a real homey touch to the story. Could happen to any of us. Was easy to connect with all the characters.
Published on May 10, 2013 by T. Copp
5.0 out of 5 stars Well developed coming of age story
Dealt well with the issues of grieving - grief that effects loved ones and the negative effects on everyone's lives. Read more
Published on May 5, 2013 by Diana Vincent
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read!
I really enjoyed this and it felt real. Not over the top but something a real family might experience. Well written.
Published on April 17, 2013 by Unknown
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story lone
This book got my emotions involved from the start. Ally of good morals.never give up, keep your head up and stand up for yourself in many ways
Published on April 14, 2013 by jaxnjil
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More About the Author

Alden Carter's thirty-year career includes publication of novels for young adults and adults, nonfiction books on a wide range of topics, and picture books for and about special needs children. Among numerous awards, his novels have been named six times to the American Library Association's list of Best Books of the Year. His adult novel of the Civil War, Bright Starry Banner, was awarded the prestigious John Esten Cooke Fiction Award. A popular speaker, he has given over 600 presentations in schools and at conferences for writers and educators. A former teacher and naval officer, he lives in Marshfield, Wisconsin, with his wife, Carol. They have two adult children: Brian, an architect, and Siri, a college student.


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