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California Blue Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this beautifully rendered novel, Klass ( Wrestling with Honor ; A Different Season ) transforms an abstract environmental issue into a compelling story of a boy in transition from adolescence to adulthood. The book owes some of its success to how the author sidesteps dogmatism while still making clear his environmentalist point of view. The protagonist, John Rodgers, has to face three troubling facts. First, his father, with whom John has never really gotten along, has been diagnosed with leukemia and is likely to die soon. Second, John has discovered a new species of butterfly and wants to preserve it, but the butterfly lives on land owned by the local mill, and any governmental protection of the area will be bitterly resisted by the entire town, including John's parents. And finally, John has fallen in love with his high school biology teacher, who does not entirely rebuff his attentions. Klass handles these complex situations with grace and subtlety; an unusual and credible inclusion is Miss Merrill's honest acknowledgement to her student that she has strong feelings for him. The absorbing first-person narration rings true, projecting the credible voice of a teenager just beginning to break free from his emotional ties to home, family and friends. The fears, excitement, anger and energy of this awkward psychological time are movingly captured here. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up?A 17-year-old loner with a passion for nature discovers a new species of butterfly in the old-growth forest near his home and is thrust headlong into the battle between environmentalists and the timber industry. A gripping story of a young man holding on to personal convictions in spite of family and community pressure.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590466895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590466899
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Young John Rodgers enjoys tramping through the forest of sequoias in his home town, Kiowa. This forest is home to the small town's lumber mill and home to a rare species of butterfly found by John. Should he fight with ecologists to preserve the forest and the rare species or should he stand by his family and the whole town of lumber workers? To further complicate John's decision, his father has leukemia. John and his father have always had a tumultuous relationship but can John turn his back on his family in such dire circumstances? _California Blue_ by David Klass, explores family relationships and ecology versus industry conflicts. The young adult novel has a compelling storyline that can hold an adult's interest as well as youth. This book also gave me a new perspective on ecology issues. At a town meeting, one question asked was, "What does it [the butterfly] do that's important? If it died out, who would miss it? What right does it have to exist?" Being from the city and not a scientist, I guess I never realized that when people are against saving a species, they are fighting for their livelihood, for a way of life they have known for years. Is the spotted owl more important than people's lives? This may seem an obvious question to some but _California Blue_ transformed this question to a reality for me. An excellent novel, not just for the young
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I teach this book in my upper-level Reading class. It is a marvelous book with a quiet voice that subtly makes you question your attitudes about animals, the environment, industry, realtionships, and nature. This is not an action-packed thriller, which is a turn-off for some kids--at first. I have found that once they get into the story and realize the questions it brings up, they really enjoy it.
I live in a community where hunting is a major pasttime. This book offers the hunters (and those who are against it) different perspectives on the issues of animal rights and the preservation of nature. This book leads to LIVELY discussions and arguments. I highly recommend it for young adults as well as those of us who are older.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While out running one day through the forest belonging to the local sawmill, John comes across a butterfly chrysalis like none he's ever seen. Being a good science student, he takes it home to let it hatch. When it does, a beautiful blue butterfly that doesn't match any category in his identification book emerges. It is possibly that there is an undiscovered species of butterfly living in this forest set to be destroyed by the loggers.

John shares the butterfly with his science teacher, who contacts an old college professor of hers who is an insect expert. When the man comes to town, suddenly things are stirred up. He wants to study the habitat of the butterfly and probably eventually declare it a protected species. Those who live in town, including John's father, make their living off of the sawmill. If they aren't allowed to cut down the trees where the butterfly was found, it is likely the mill will shut down and the entire town will die with it.

Death is weighing heavily on the minds of John and his family, anyway, as his aggressive and overbearing father has been diagnosed with leukemia. All of his life John has felt that he has never been able to do anything to make his father happy and proud, and he worries that his involvement in finding this butterfly will only make things worse in his family. Will he stand by his discovery, or will he side with those who think the sawmill ought to have the right to cut down all the trees they want?

I liked the complexity of the conflict in John's life, with his father being very sick and so tied to the mill while John felt pulled in the direction of science and wanting to help his butterfly. I also liked Dr.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
John likes to run and collect butterflies, sometimes while he is running through the forest he takes along his net, and he never imagined that he would catch a butterfly that would lead to a scandal in his mill town.
The butterfly turned out to be a missing link in the evolutionary chhain of butterflies and moths, but the mill workers could care less, they want to keep their jobs and don't want tot stop progress because of an insect.
The real conflict arises when John's dad takes the opposite side, but of course as a mill worker you would expect that...it's another thing in a long list that keeps John and his father apart...but now they are even more apart after his father is diagnosed with leukemia.
Just how much can John handle...the town is about to explode, his family life is falling apart, and how is he going to get out of this mess?
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Although I'm 23 now, I purchased this book because I remember that I absolutely loved the book when reading it in 8th grade, and I completely forgot what the story was about besides that a kid really liked his teacher and they lived in a city that heavily relied on the saw mill industry. It took me several years of sporadic google searching to try to find the exact book because I totally forgot the details, title, and author. One of my favorite books, and David Klass does a mesmerizing job of putting you in the shoes of the main character. Really a great book!
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