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Wingwalker
Wingwalker
by Rosemary Wells
Edition: Hardcover
60 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Blending of Text and Art, March 14, 2004
This review is from: Wingwalker (Hardcover)
WINGWALKER by Rosemary Wells is the story of a young boy, who at the age of seven experiences the loss of security as a result of his parents losing their home and jobs during the dust storms of the 1930's. The family is forced to move and meet new challenges and people. During the time his mother and father go to work for a traveling carnival, Reuben grows from a young boy very afraid of riding in an airplane to being able to ride the wings of a carnival airplane with his father. The book is a touching story of a young boy's growth from babyish insecurity to courageous adolescence. The illustrator, Brain Selznick tells the family's story through muted pastel color paintings that have a dusty overglazed appearance. He does an outstanding job of capturing the thoughts and feelings of the characters, especially Reuben, with very meaningful facial expressions. Overall, the book shows skillful blending of text and artwork.


Z for Zachariah
Z for Zachariah
by Robert C. O'Brien
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
129 used & new from $0.01

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weapons of Mass Destruction?, June 29, 2003
Z FOR Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien is a chilling account of the United States after an atomic bomb attack. Anne Burden and her family lives in an isolated valley that has managed to escape the radiation fallout due to its unusual geographical wayout. Everything is brown and dead beyond the valley. However, everyone but Anne leaves the valley to see if anyone else survived in neighboring towns. They never return. It has been a year and Anne believes she may be the last person alive on earth. One day she sees a thin line of smoke on the horizon from a campfire. She is afraid and hides. As she watches from a cave on the hillside, she sees a man wearing a helmet and a green suit with an oxygen tank attached to the back come into her valley. Anne realizes it is a radiation suit and the man has come through intense radiation areas and survived. After the man becomes sick Anne shows herself and nurses him back to health. She imagines they can re-populate the earth, but soon realizes Mr. Loomis, who was a nuclear chemist before the bombing, is carrying a horrible secret and it involves the radiation suit. When she realizes this she knows she is not safe and must act in order to survive. The book, written in 1974, dates itself by talking about phonographs and records, instead of cassettes and CD's and two kinds of gasoline-high test and regular. However, the basic premise of the story is very up to date. The war lasts one week and Anne describes the great mushroom pillar of smoke from the A-bomb and the radiation that kills everything outside the valley. The book also talks about the enemy using nerve gas and bacteria weapons at the end of the 7 day war. The book describes things and events very similar to ones we witnessed on T.V. and read about in newspapers during the recent confrontation with Iraq, as well as present tensions with Korea over nuclear weapons. Both high school students and middle grade students should be able to handle the contents of the book.


Monster
Monster
by Walter Dean Myers
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.99
463 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Life Quest, June 14, 2003
This review is from: Monster (Paperback)
MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers is a contemporary fiction book written in a movie script format. The story takes place in New York City, a setting that makes the events very believable. The script format, in which a murder trial is the main focus, is very appropriate because it allows the reader to be transferred from one scene to another at a fast pace without a lot of extra narrative.
The storyline of the book is one that is seen on television shows weekly. A black teenage boy is in jail awaiting the out- come of a murder trial in which he and another man are accused of robbery and murder. Steve Harmon, the teenager, is allegedly the person who checked out a drugstore before two other men entered, robbed and killed the owner. One man has turned state's evidence for a plea bargain. The other man, who pulled the trigger of the gun, and Harmon are being tried for murder.
Even though the trial is deeply woven into the plot, the story is not really about the quilt or innocence of a young black teenager. It is about the mental make-up of one. Steve Harmon is on a quest to find his real inner self. For this reason, teenagers will find this an interesting book to read.
There are really no surprises as the story progresses. The only thing one wonders about is whether Harmon is going to be found guilty or innocent. The reader knows it has to be one or the other, so the reading is pretty mundane for most of the story. However, the author packs a surprise punch at the end of the story, which makes the book worth reading.


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