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The Art of Keeping Cool

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  524 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
The War At Home
Fear permeates the Rhode Island coastal town where Robert, his mother, and sister are living out the war with his paternal grandparents: Fear of Nazi submarines offshore. Fear of Abel Hoffman, a German artist living reclusively outside of town. And for Robert, a more personal fear, of his hot-tempered, controlling grandfather.
As Robert watches the townsp
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,338)
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Cindy Lakatos
Sep 02, 2013 Cindy Lakatos rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful story. A Very complex family system encompasses this story that takes place on the east coast of New Hampshire during WW2. It showed how courage looks. Elliott is an incredible character who has learned to function in the shadow of his powerful and intimidating grandfather. Robert, the main character, misunderstands Elliot's choices as being cowardly when truly, Elliott demonstrates the most courage and integrity in the story.

I liked how they compared and contrasted the tre
Meaghan Grady
The Art of Keeping Cool By: Janet Taylor Lisle
Meaghan G., Spring 2015

**Historical Fiction #2**


This book tells the historical story of the before and after effects of the war. This book talks about the war in the 1940's. The setting is a small town in Rhode Island where Robert( main character) and his family just moved there. Robert's father is a fighter pilot in Europe and his mother made them leave Ohio so they could be close to their gr
Audrey O
Apr 27, 2015 Audrey O rated it it was amazing
The Art of Keeping Cool was an excellent book that was written beautifully. I very much enjoyed it, and I found both the historical and fictional side to the plot to be fascinating. I really do the ending was went more into depth though. But other than that, I found the tying of the war to art to be most interesting. I learned about art during World War 2 and also about how Germans were treated in America. The descriptions of the art were so vivid it was as if I were actually seeing the drawing ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Tanja rated it really liked it
Another great piece of historical fiction set during the time of WWII in a small community in Rhode Island. It's a thought-provoking novel, especially with regard to the German artist's story; a painful reminder of how humans out of weakness are all too willing to give into stereotypes when confronted with the unknown and in fear. At the center of the story is however a young boy who uncovers during the time at his grandparents' place family secrets that everyone is trying to keep buried. I also ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Thomas rated it liked it
Spoiler Alert!!!

I was assigned this book as my eighth grade reading project. If there was one word to describe this book, it would be BORING!!!! The one thing that I liked about this book was when Grandpa shot his son in the leg, because that was the one interesting part of the book. I didn't like that the book had no main plot or resolution, and that made the story not enjoyable. My favorite character in the story was Grandpa, because he had anger issues and everyone was scared of him. I learn
Bev Walkling
This book is a winner or nominee for several awards and they are very well-deserved.Geared to early teens, it tells the story of one 13 year old boy growing up in Rhode Island shortly after the US has been drawn into World War Two. We hear the story from Robert's perspective as he watches what is happening around him and sees how the townspeople are reacting. His cousin Elliot befriends a German man who is an artist and Robert worries for him as the hate towards the German escalates into disaste ...more
Charles Phillips
Oct 21, 2008 Charles Phillips rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes mysteries
Recommended to Charles by: Mr.Nobody (lol)
It is highly recommended by me and is very ,shall I say depressing but wonderful.Robert and his family are living in a nice cottage on a farm while his father is away in world war II flying a gigantic flying fortress. Robert's family loses too much money without a job so he moves in with his grandparents and cousin he has never laid eyes on named Elliot. Elliot has a secret talent. Whatever he sees he draws later in absolute perfection. But he has never told anyone until he meets Robert. On the ...more
It is 1942 and tensions are running high in a small seaside village in Rhode Island where 13-year-old Robert and his mom moved from Ohio to be near relatives while his father is flying bombers in Europe. Soldiers, arming huge guns, have set up base near the town to guard the coastline from Nazi submarines that are torpedoing allied ships. Many in the town are convinced that a recluse German man is a spy and is signaling the German subs. But only Robert and his artistic cousin Elliot—who befriend ...more
Krista Stevens
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award.

Up in Rockport, MA overlooking the sea at Halibut Point, are massive concrete bunkers that were built, I believe, around WWII to protect America from German forces. Knowing really nothing about that time in this place, I had always thought they were overkill. This story changed my mind. It takes place just down the coast in RI, where Robert, his mother, and sister have moved to temporarily from their farm in OH to live with their grandparents during WWII. Robert'
Catherine Savoie
Dec 06, 2011 Catherine Savoie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a compelling story of war and the after effects in 1942. Robert Saunders father is a fighter pilot in Europe. There mom had just moved the family From there home is small town on Ohio to a small coastal town in Rhode Islandnear the paternal gradparents that he had never met before.There he meets his fathers family who he has never met before. some of who he meet includes his mean spirted grandfathera and his cousin ellit. while there he uncovers a secret as to why long a ago there w ...more
Ben Benavidez
Feb 23, 2013 Ben Benavidez rated it really liked it
Fear engulfs the small town in Rhode Island where Robert and his family live, fear of a potential Nazi submarine attack that is. The fact that Abel Hoffman, a German artist, lives in the town also provides unrest, and Robert's cousin Elliot having a friendship with him doesn't help the cause. As the town grows more hostile towards Hoffman, Robert worries more and more about Elliot. And he also wonders about the secret about his father's past, who is a pilot fighting in the war in Europe. The se ...more
May 21, 2013 Lawson rated it liked it
The Art of Keeping Cool is a historic fiction novel. The cover of the book has a photo of war
on the upon half and a face of a boy at the bottom who looks helpless. Also it has a brief summary
at the back cover of it. It has 193 pages, it does not have any illustration in these pages.
I did not have enough time to finish the book, so that what I know about the story of this book
is about the life of Elliot who is a boy lives in the period of time of WWII. The conflict of this story
is really ordinar
Miss Amanda
gr 5-7 207pgs

1942 Rhode Island. Robert, along with his younger sister and mother leave their Ohio farm to move in with his paternal grandparents while his father is serving as a pilot in England. Robert misses the farm but finds living near Fort Brooks exciting. Unlike the rest of the family who ignores him, Robert spends time with his cousin Elliot. Robert finds life with his grandparents to be filled with secrets. No one except Robert knows that Elliot has a real talent for drawing or that he'
Emily Eastman
Jun 27, 2010 Emily Eastman rated it really liked it
really 3.5 stars. Why?

1. lack of detial (Abol's death)

2. lack of established characters (the author never really showed what they were feeling. They felt empty)

I feel I didn't really connect with Robert. You didn't always know what he was feeling. Like when he realised the true reason for his dad's limp. I mean he just said he felt angry with everyone, really. I wanted more description of feelings like pain, distress, distrust, fierce anger. In Abol's death it basically siad he walked neither
Jun 28, 2009 Duane rated it really liked it
Done in a historical fiction genre, the book focuses on the prejuidices that go along with war and fear. Robert and his family is having to live with his dad's family while his dad is over in England fighting the war. The problem is, his dad's family won't discuss his dad. Robert tries to find out why this is, and along the way, discovers a recluse German painter living in the woods near their cottage. As the fears of the townfolk build against the German, Robert and his cousin, have to decide i ...more
Makinna D
Apr 21, 2015 Makinna D rated it liked it
I was assigned this book for an eight grade project and personally did not like it. It had no resolution and way to many subplots. I gave it a 3 because the book wasn't all terrible. I enjoyed certain aspects. The actual story line wasn't bad it just wasn't very well carried out. If the author had stuck with one plot the book would be much more engaging. I found myself thoroughly bored through out the book.
Marissa Pezzullo
Apr 18, 2015 Marissa Pezzullo rated it it was amazing
It take a lot to deal with family, especially ones that you live with all the time. Robert has to be brave and get along with his family all while wondering everyday about his father who is over the seas fighting in the war. This book could help children connect, because they may be going through the same situation. I feel that this book was sad, but it also might help someone if they read it.
Apr 20, 2012 Joanna rated it really liked it
What a mean-spirited Grandpa! I really wonder how he treated his patients. His family was certainly living in fear of him.

Poor Abel. I wish the townspeople could have learned to accept his eccentricities but it seems he was set on staying in this town and not going elsewhere where there might be less fear of Germans. Not living in this period I don't know what the fear level of the average American was during WWII.

The story would not have happened at all if Robert's father had told his mother h
I didn't find this to be a very satisfying read. A lot of parts just felt unconvincing to me, and I had a hard time investing myself in the plot. I don't care that much for modern art, so that part of the story really didn't catch my interest. The ending was a little odd, too. Who was the soldier in the cockpit?

My favorite part of the book was probably the author's note. She made some good points about the importance of sounding "the twin alerts of memory and history" (250) in order to avoid ma
Apr 21, 2015 Savannah rated it liked it
Hello I am an eighth grader and I read this book for a reading project. This is a very fictional take on an important time in history.
It was interesting to see the authors take on this time period. I enjoyed the book a lot but it didn't have enough action for me. But it still was portrayed very well.
Jun 08, 2010 Svein rated it it was amazing
At first to be honest I thought this was going to be one of the worst books I have ever read. Historical fiction has never really appealed to me, but this book managed to grab my attention. Robert lives in a coastal town in Rhode Island with family and not to mention his abusive grandfather. That though is the least of Robert's worries. The effects of World War Two start to show in this town and his cousin Elliot seems to be taking the greatest damage. Elliot’s idol Abel Hoffman, a German artist ...more
Marc Kohlman
Mar 16, 2013 Marc Kohlman rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book!!! Read it my Junior year of high school for my own pleasure and found it really enjoyable. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and young adult coming-of-age stories and this one was one of the best I ever read. I admire one of the primary characters, Elliot, for his devotion to his love of drawing and the risk he took in seeking the German artist's help in drawing. He was taking a dangerous one, which his cousin Robert advised against even. Both boys find their own ways of k ...more
Sherry Quaresma
Mar 15, 2016 Sherry Quaresma rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I'm very surprised that it isn't rated higher. It is easily as good as Newbery winners that I've read. A wonderful work of historical fiction, with lots of learning interspersed with the family drama.
Justin Pohl
Sep 15, 2015 Justin Pohl rated it it was amazing
The author in this book did a great job on the personalities of each character. It really brought out how much Robert's cousin liked to paint. It also showed how emotional they can get. I like this book a lot and think it was great.
Apr 09, 2014 Benjamin rated it really liked it
I was a little frusterated at Elliot at times, but overall, I really enjoyed the book and wish that there were a series to it! I rrecommend it to everyone, but mainly children who aree world war two loves.
Jul 18, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is another book read by my 4th and 5th grade literature circle class. Over the year, 2 different groups read this book, and they all liked it. It was interesting to learn some of the facts about World War II that the history book may not include. The story is about two cousins, Elliot and Robert and their adventures with a German artist that many accuse of being a spy. The story also unravels the reason why Robert had never met his cousin or grandparents until the war which took his father ...more
This book takes a different path exploring what was happening during WWII. There are details about what happened in Germany as well as how it effected those here in the United States.
Stephanie Hicks
Oct 22, 2012 Stephanie Hicks rated it liked it
This book is on my 6A reading list. I liked the plot and thought the characters were well-developed, especially Robert and Elliot. I liked the subplots involving Abel Hoffman and the relationship between Robert's father and grandfather. Both were suspenseful and kept me interested. I haven't read too much about how Americans living on the eastern seaboard were in constant fear of German attacks during WWII, so I thought this part of the book was really interesting. There are some parts that migh ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
This is a book full of mystery that depicts some of the events that took place during the holocaust. The character must discover the family secret and the truth behind Abel Hoffman, a German artist who people say is a s spy. Through the characters we see friendship and how no matter how different someone is from you, you guys can still be friends. This book can be presented in the classroom as a history lesson. We can have the students research some events that happened around the setting of thi ...more
Aug 12, 2015 Abby rated it really liked it
Great WW2 book. Warning! There is only ONE cuss word in the book. And it's the "d" word.
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