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Onion John

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3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  2,914 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
His friendship with the town odd-jobs man, Onion John, causes a conflict between Andy and his father.
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published 1959 by Thomas Y. Crowell
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Diamond Cowboy
Aug 26, 2015 Diamond Cowboy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great story about a twelve year old boy who befriends an immigrant. They develop a strong friendship. The immigrant was almost killed by the kindness of the town's people.
I recommend this book highly. A great book to read to your kids.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Elyse
Sep 05, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this years ago --when my daughter was around 10 or 11 years old. (now 34 years old)

Its such a wonderful -timeless' story!

Thanks to **Diamond**....(for the reminder and memory of this book)

GREAT book to pick for your kids!
Lars Guthrie
Apr 13, 2009 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And speaking of Newbery Award winners, here is 1960's. Being a compulsive list maker, I'm proud to report that I have now read 42 of the past 77 award winners, and despite some recent doubts in the press about the Newbery, I have found that this project an excellent avenue to get a feel for children's literature. 'Onion John' is an extraordinary book, ostensibly about twelve-year-old Andy Rusch's friendship with the town eccentric and how that helps Andy and his father to work out the problems f ...more
Jim
Aug 24, 2010 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
And the moral of the story is? Don't try to force a crazy bum into not being a crazy bum anymore, because they'll just turn out to be a crazy bum anyway.
Cheryl
Jul 20, 2009 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberry-awards
I had almost been discouraged from reading this book, right now, because I read a review from someone that the book hardly deserved to be a Newberry Award winner. Because I have made a commitment to read all the Newberry Award winners, I plowed ahead...and boy, am I glad that I did. I thought that the book was one of the best that I have read. I was frustrated by some poor editing of serious punctuation problems. That was the only problem that I saw in the book.
Onion John carries the important
...more
Katie
I didn't like this book, then I did. The book drug on too long, then it was over too quickly. I felt no connection to the characters, then I cried and rejoiced for them.
Onion John was a mere 250 pages yet took me the better part of a week to read. Why? Well, the first 150 pages or so are simply boring. Even by adult standards. There is excellent character development, the plot is well laid, and the setting is impeccably described. The book is quite good, I just didn't like it.
Then the story fina
...more
Abby Harrison
Have you ever noticed that children seem to be oblivious to prejudice because of their youth and naivete? This was the case with Andy Rusch, the son of a prominent man in small town Serenity. Andy is the only person in town who was able to befriend the town vagrant and crazy person "Onion John." With focus and determination, Andy learns John's "language" and worships him as the ultimate role model. He even goes so far as to convince the town to build John a "proper" house.

As disaster strikes and
...more
Pam
Dec 25, 2008 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in the 4th grade and ___ years later still remember it like it was yesterday. This book started my love of words, thoughts and books. It has a true life moral to the story about how to accept other peoples ways and respect their right to be who they are in this world. The basic story the townfolk try to "bless" the odd man out with the introduction to a totally new way of life, so foriegn to his own, which results in the main character thinking something is wrong with him....Newbery winner, ...more
Benji Martin
I went into this book feeling skeptical. As a kid, one of my favorite books was My Side of the Mountain, which got an honor in 1960, the year that Onion John won. My Side of the Mountain is still being read by kids all over the world. A kid is probably reading it right now as I'm typing this. I'd be willing to bet that there aren't 50 kids in the world who have read Onion John this year. I hadn't even heard of it before a month ago, and yet the 1960 committee thought it was better than My Side o ...more
Tim
Oct 05, 2009 Tim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
I read this book in fourth grade.

While I remember hardly nothing of the book itself, I remember that I truly hated it.
Phil Jensen
A 12 year old kid ditches his baseball buddies to found a cloud-worshiping cult with a homeless man who lives in a junk yard. After that, it gets kind of weird. Normally, I like weird, but this was the kind of weird that made me say, "Huh. That's weird" then put the book down. I just never cared what was going to happen next.

I'm giving it an extra star for the last chapter when the kid goes ice fishing with his father. That was a really beautiful chapter, and it made me realize that the relation
...more
Megan
Nov 12, 2009 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was quite different. It's the story of a boy's friendship with the town outsider, and the effect that bond has on the boy's father-son relationship, and on the close-knit community. I can't say I identified with it much. However, I did like the issues Krumgold raised about the right way to offer to help someone. In this case, do you offer the help you think the person needs, even if he/she doesn't really want it? How do you know that you know best what he/she needs? Here, we see the down si ...more
Francisca Darney
This book has a great message but it's slow and most kids will probably find it boring and give up on it. It just doesn't have enough conflict in the plot to draw the reader in. I'm surprised it won the Newbery medal
D.C.
Aug 02, 2015 D.C. rated it really liked it
Shelves: newberies
This is a sad, sweet, and in-depth book that may have a bit of symbolism involved in it. The ending is kind of weird but strangely satisfying with more of a "use-your-imagination-to-find-out-what-happens" climax. I liked the descriptions of John's old house and his lifestyle. The story will make you get mad at some people and sympathize with others, and with some exception, I found this a both touching and convincing entry in the Newbery list.
Junyoung Kim
Genre:Fiction
Review
This book’s name is Onion John and also, the main character of the book is also Onion John. John had a neighbour named Andy.Andy was his only friend to him. John and Andy was good friends and this book is about John leaving his house and going to New Mexico. His father was a drug addict. Because of lot of specific reasons, they left their houses. In New Mexico, they were lonely and there was some bad issues going on with them and they learned many lessons. In the end, John ret
...more
Joy
1960 Newbery Medal Book

This book explores the relationship between a boy named Andy and Onion John, a strange immigrant who lives in a ramshackle house outside the town of Serenity. Andy's father, who runs the hardware store in Serenity, has reservations about the friendship between Andy and Onion John. Andy gets his friends to join him and John on some of his strange rituals, often having to translate because they can't understand him.

When Andy's father discovers that John's house is falling ap
...more
Jessie
May 05, 2009 Jessie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
I was not expecting this book to be good, but it's amazing. It starts out seeming like most books written in the 50's but then suddenly it's starts dealing with all sorts of complex ideas like how hard it is to help people, and how our ideas of what's best for people aren't always accurate. It also beautifully explores the pain and loss involved in growing up.
Emily
Dec 13, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. While in the middle I thought, "How did I not know about this book before now??" It kind of bogs down towards the end but I enjoyed the character and style- reminded me of Will Tweedy and Cold Sassy Tree. I'm reading my way thru the Newbery winners and was glad to find this one.
Darcia Scates
This book drags on and on. However , it offers a good moral. The moral is leave well enough alone. Andy's dad thinks he is a saint and could help Onion John by having his Rotary Club build a house for him. Why doesn't it dawn on him that Onion John prefers the tax free, utility bill free life? I am glad the author mentions Ernie, the lone smart member of the group who asks how can Ernie pay any water or electric bill with his 35 cents an hour wage. The problem is they don't think John is smart, ...more
Debbie
48 1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)

reunion, 2013 (248 pages)

Andrew Rush is a junior high school age boy living in a small town in the 60s. Onion John, an immigrant, is an unusual character who lives at the edge of town and makes his way by finding things in the dump. Although John understands English, his own language is such a mixture of sounds from his native language that no one is able to understand him. That is until Andrew realizes that he can make out some meaning and then be
...more
Kathi
Jun 02, 2014 Kathi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery

The Newbery Winner for 1960, Onion John is a sweet coming-of-age story.

The book focuses on 12-year old Andy’s unusual friendship with Onion John, a poor, really eccentric European immigrant who speaks little English. Luckily, Joseph Krumgold also gives Andy’s and his father’s relationship the importance it deserves.

Although parts of the story would not be believable as 21st century realistic fiction, important parts still could happen today.

I hope they do, and often.


P.S. Krumgold won the Newbe
...more
Sharon
Feb 22, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the authentic voice of narrator, Andy Rusch. This is a coming of age story that centers on Andy's relationship with his father. What a beautiful resolution at the end! Onion John, the character, IMO, pales in significance to the son-father relationship, but coming to terms with Onion John is the vehicle that brings the family relationship into clearer and clearer focus. It's also about how a town responds to someone clearly out of the norm when it comes to lifestyle and ethnicity. Fascin ...more
jimtown
Jul 22, 2016 jimtown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost gave up on this book, thinking it was dragging too long, was a little boring and out dated for me. It is a Newberry Award winner from 1960. But, I try to finish things I start, and I wasn’t sorry I took the extra time to finish this one.

Andy, out in the outfield has is eye and mind on something other than baseball, as he spies Onion John picking in the dump. Andy is very curious about this tall, mysterious character that is seen walking, pushing his wheelbarrow around town. When Andy tr
...more
Adrian Hebard
Jan 16, 2016 Adrian Hebard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am continuing my “march” through the Newbery Award winners. Onion John reminds me of ...And Now Miguel, because Andy Rausch, Jr., like Miguel, is “growing up.” Like many of the Newbery Award winners, the writing is middle-school level, but the themes are worthy of adult conversations.

Serenity, a white, American, small town, reminds me of the Connecticut town where I grew up. Andy’s father owns the local hardware store. Andy’s best friend, Eech Ries, is the son of the local drug store owner, an
...more
Rachel Terry
Mar 01, 2015 Rachel Terry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvie, newbery
Krumgold captures the 12-year-old way of thinking so well. Twelve is an age when the adult world is starting to make sense but the childhood world is still colorful and endlessly appealing. By putting a boy in a position to love and trust two very different kinds of adults, the author sheds light on many important themes: culture differences, faith in science vs. faith in intuition and superstitions, self-reliance, and respect for others' beliefs. I'm looking forward to reading more by this auth ...more
Bonnie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joel
Oct 23, 2008 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Onion John is the most fascinating friendship book I have ever read. The book shows how friendship can take down barriers as well as set new ones up. I like how the author shows how different problems begin to accumulate on a friendship that seems will not survive long. While reading the book you feel the strugles Onion and the child go through to maintain their friendship. Onion John shows how anything is possible, no matter what the circumstances. The aspect that makes this book a masterpiece ...more
Sarah
Apr 27, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: Andy Rusch is a boy happily growing up in the small town of Serenity, New Jersey. While playing in a championship baseball game, he strikes up a conversation with Onion John as he looks for things to salvage in the town's landfill. Andy and Onion John become friends as Andy becomes the only one who can understand Onion John. After Andy introduces Onion John to his father, his father takes it upon himself to have the Rotary Club build Onion John a new house, because the one the Onion Jo ...more
Tyler
Mar 21, 2010 Tyler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: Andy Rusch is a boy happily growing up in the small town of Serenity, New Jersey. While playing in a championship baseball game, he strikes up a conversation with Onion John as he looks for things to salvage in the town's landfill. Andy and Onion John become friends as Andy becomes the only one who can understand Onion John. After Andy introduces Onion John to his father, his father takes it upon himself to have the Rotary Club build Onion John a new house, because the one the Onion Jo ...more
Camilla
Jan 20, 2011 Camilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(When I first read this book, I gave it 2 stars. But now...I see this books for the worth it gives in just one scene (side scene, even!).)
You know, I read this book quite a while ago, but I can't get this one scene out of my head. I just have to make note of it so that one day, when this scene replays in my mind, I will always know where to find it -- it won't ever get lost in an anonymous cover in the back of my mind. I can't do justice to the scene, and it can't stand alone--it needs the rest
...more
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In addition to being a renowned author of books for young readers, Joseph Quincy Krumgold was a scriptwriter for several well-known movies, including "Seven Miles From Alcatraz" (1942) and "Dream No More" (1953). While he did not have a great number of books published over the span of his writing career, Joseph Krumgold became the first author to win the John Newbery Medal for two different books ...more
More about Joseph Krumgold...

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