Lunch-Box Dream
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Lunch-Box Dream

2.53 of 5 stars 2.53  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Bobby and his family are visiting Civil War battlefields on the eve of the war’s centenary, while inside their car, quiet battles rage. When an accident cuts their trip short, they return home on a bus and witness an incident that threatens to deny a black family seats. What they don’t know is the reason for the family’s desperation to be on that bus: a few towns away, the...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Wendy
I don't know what this book is supposed to be, or when I've read a children's book that seems so wildly unappealing to children. Almost all the characters are thoroughly unpleasant, the protagonist is weirdly obsessed with black people in a way that seems unrealistic (his very first reaction to the idea of a bus trip is ugh because they'll have to ride with black--pardon, "chocolate" people?), false drama is created, and there's a vaguely creepy ultimate scene where the child protagonist deigns...more
Angie
Bobby and his family take a trip south to see the Civil War battlefields. Jacob is spending the summer with his aunt and uncle. This book is told from various narrators perspectives and it makes for a very disjointed telling. It is supposed to highlight Jim Crow laws in the South during the 1950s and it does a bit, but it isn't a very effective story. Bobby is obsessed with death and "chocolate" people. His mom actually wrecks her car to get away from a couple of African Americans (who aren't do...more
Amy
This didn't work. The novel takes place in 1959 and was written to demonstrate Jim Crow laws in the South. Mr. Abbott splits his tale into several narrators (members of a white family and a black family)and how their lives intertwine. I found it all quite messy to follow. Each family and their story is compelling and would most likely make a good novel on their own but putting them together gave me a migrane. I'm afraid there are so many distractions with the various plots, that young readers wi...more
Shelley
About ten characters in two different families are telling their stories during a summer in 1959. The stories briefly, nearly touch for about two pages. I do not know why this book was written or who would like it.

1.5 stars? I don't want to just give it one, I reserve that for books that I actively dislike.

Mary Ann
Inspired by his own childhood trip touring the Civil War battlefields in June 1959, Abbott (Firegirl, Little Brown, 2006; and the Secrets of Droon series, Scholastic) crafts a spare, yet complex tale of the segregated South in the late 1950s. Bobby and his family are traveling from Ohio to Florida, visiting Civil War battlefields as they take his grandmother back to St. Petersburg. Above all, Bobby is an observer, a child who watches everyone around him, thinking and wondering, but only occasion...more
Pam
Tony Abbott manages to weave several plot lines and two historical tales in this wonderful novel. It is 1959 and a white family from Ohio sets off on a trip to Florida. One of the two brothers is a Civil War enthusiast so the family plans visits to battlefields on the way. The black family's trip involves the young son going to Ohio from Atlanta to visit relatives "in the country." How the journeys become interwoven is the result of the segregated/Jim Crow policies, as well as several misunderst...more
David
Lunch-Box Dream by Tony Abbott is an historical fiction novel set in 1959 following two families and segregation, Jim Crow, and racism from multiple perspectives.

Naive Bobby and his family from Ohio are visiting Civil War battlefields and taking their mother to Florida, while quiet battles rage inside their car. After an accident cuts their trip short, they go to return home by bus and witness an incident that threatens to deny a black family seats on the bus. They don't realize that the family...more
Kristie
I was fortunate to have received this book as a First Reads. If you are a fan of historical fiction and enjoy reading young adult books then this is a good choice. There do not seem to be many books in this genre for this age so I appreciate Mr. Abbott's writings.

I had my 13 year old read it before me and he enjoyed the story (because he loves social studies) but was a little confused about the characters. I was too, but luckily Mr. Abbott included a list of characters and their relationships at...more
Barb Middleton
There's no arguing that Tony Abbott has beautiful writing. He can take a moment and stretch it into a melodramatic and moving sequence of images. His love of trains is obvious from The Haunting of Derek Stone series to his latest novel, Lunch-Box Dream:

"'There they are! The tracks. I see them. Drive across.' And she drove the car forward on the flat road, nearly stopping where the dark rails sliced it, then rolled over them without power, until horns started honking behind them and they had to...more
meg
Lunch-Box Dreams presents Jim Crow, racism, and segregation from multiple perspectives. The year is 1959, and two interwoven narratives tell a coming-of-age story. The main characters are two grade-school age white boys from Ohio on a road trip with their mother and grandmother, visiting Civil War battlefields on the eve of the war’s centenary. Ricky is sensitive, thoughtful and deeply curious. His brother Bobby, the self-proclaimed “bad one,” is naively prejudiced and quite unlikeable- at least...more
Becky
Ages 10-14. It's 1959, and at first Bobby is excited to go with his mother and brother Ricky to return their grandmother to Florida from Ohio, even if it means visiting all the Civil War battlefields between here and there because Ricky is obsessed with them. Then Bobby realizes that the car he's riding is the same car that killed his grandfather, then they cross the railroad tracks where Lincoln's funeral procession passed over, and the thoughts of all the dead bodies crowding the battlefields...more
Susan
Oct 01, 2011 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6th through 9th grade
Shelves: middle-grades
While the mix of stories did not work all that well, I still gave the book five stars for the depth of the plot. This was 1960, and many white families truly did not understand anyone outside their race. They didn't mean anything by it; they weren't made to understand, they weren't exposed to anyone outside their race, and they weren't corrected much when they called anyone with darker skin "chocolates." I have a problem with reviewers who pan a book and then say it was set in 1952! Get your fac...more
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Bobby, his mother, and his older brother are taking Grandmother and her car to Florida. Starting in Ohio, they visit various Civil War sites because of Ricky’s obsession with that historical period. Bobby feels detached from his brother’s enthusiasm, but thoughts of President Lincoln’s assassination, Grandfather’s fatal heart attack several months before, and the grizzly deaths of so many Civil War soldiers begin merging in Bobby’s mind. For the first time in his life, he begins to see a world o...more
Ryan
The best description is that I was looking in on someone else's dream, and that someone else was a child. All the parts that would have provided me with context were viewed from a different perspective so they looked different, unfamiliar. Kids see the world from the back seat of cars and I've not sat in the back seat in years. Details that raised questions for me seemed relatively unimportant to the characters so I was left wondering what would happen, but not about anything being told. More re...more
Vanessa West
Lunch Box Dream is an historical fiction book that is intended for children between the ages of ten and fourteen years old. The book is about a boy names Bobby and his family experiencing some uncomfortable situations on their trip to take their Grandmother back to Florida, but they also stop along the way to visit Civil War battlefields. Tony Abott does a good job bringing conflicts of the 1950’s to life and describing how people feel in these situations. The plot of the story takes a little wh...more
Angie
I picked this up in hopes of using it as a literature circle book as part of the Civil Rights unit I do with my 8th graders, and I have to say it wasn't what I thought it would be, or hoped it would be.

The book is told in both third and first person. A Caucasian family's trip from Ohio to Florida is told in third person, while the African American family's stories are told in first person, with each character having a chapter. The first 2/3 of the book is actually rich in Civil War facts and inf...more
Angelica
Lunch-Box Dream is such a touching book. It is about 2 stories of 2 diffenrent races, one white and one black. In the (white) family we have a Grandma, Mom, Brother named Ricky and another brother named Bobby. It takes place in Cleveland, Ohio. Bobby has had a hard time trying to live on though life without his Grandpa, he is scard for life of his 1st death from his Grandpa. So almost in each chapter he is haunted by death and he has to go though some really bad times.
In the (black) family there...more
MaryJane
I picked this book up because of the cover and the title and the author's name. I liked Firegirl by Tony Abbott. I checked it out of the library because it examines the relationships of people in 1959 - black/white, North/South - and I am always looking for good material for 6-8th graders about the Civil Rights movement. For me, parts of the storyline got lost, and I had to check back to see who was who, because I was reading this in bits and pieces. I'm going to give this a second reading, this...more
Shannon Clark
This is sort of a tough one for me to review. While I liked the concept/topic of the book being that it is set back in 1959 with segregation (which would be great for my 5/6 graders to read about), it was confusing for me as I read since each chapter was written from a different character's point of view. That would be a good thing IF it wasn't so confusing to keep up with. I felt like I got to know Bobby, Ricky, and their family more than Cora, Herschel, and Jacob's family.

The writing just see...more
Robin
Still trying to figure out how I feel about this one. Some very high points, excellent portrayal of a time period, some poignant moments. Set in 1959, just as the Civil Rights movement was brewing -- a time period deserving of more exploration. Told from alternating points of view, of a white boy (Bobby)'s journey South exploring Civil War battlefields and remembering the Lincoln train and of an African American family's experiences in Georgia. Eventually the storylines intersect. There's a lot...more
Robin
Racial Prejudice Unit
Kara
blech. I listened to this and maybe it wasn't the right kind of book for listening to- it is SO disjointed it's maddening. There are two stories happening and both are blah but i thought it would pick up. wrong. The author has a note at the end where he talks about what this is based on and it's a stretch. There are too many things happening and no conclusion and it's a hot mess. and i don't mind if author's take some liberty in choosing a title but i could not get this one at all (that's just a...more
Jennifer Lavoie
Somewhat confusing at times with the frequent shift of characters and point of view. It took me a while to figure out how most of the characters were related, but I did manage to get most of it. By the end, everything connects, though readers are left wondering what the family will think of Jacob's return and what will happen to Bobby once he gets home. Also, what has happened to his parent's relationship? It seems like it is falling apart, much like the lives of Jacob's family when he first enc...more
Carolyn
I didn't care for this book. First off, there's no way that a kid in the 1950's that is as naive as to call an African American "chocolate" is going to have these indepth thoughts about beauty and death. The mother was strange and it was so obvious that she gave her son the respect that she would have given to her husband. And what was the Grandmother's role in all of this? I didn't get the numbering system for the chapters, I didn't like the two "stories".
Zachary
Lunch-Box Dream, have you ever been on a vacation that goes down hill very fast? Bobby, his brother, his mom and his grandma all go to Florida. They made alot of crazy stops on the way, such as when they made a stop at the civil war battlefield. Bobby stole something from the gift shop. This is like the time me and my family went to Mt. Rushmore, because they went on a family road trip just like us. If you like adventures, you will love this book.
Carrie
I was expecting much more from this book, and it disappointed terribly. I thought there'd be more learning by the young boys from Ohio. I thought there'd be more interaction between the two groups of people. The interaction consisted of alternating chapters. I guess I either didn't get what the author was trying to do, or I couldn't get past what I expected of the book.
Sue Wargo
I like Abbott's work. As a media specialist I try to read as much as possible so I can help my students find something to read. This was a poignant story and gave a flavor of what it was like to live in the south during that time. I think it would open the eye of many young readers to know what it would have been like to have to travel on the back of the bus.
Gregg
I found this book to be disjointed and difficult to follow. Having different chapters written from the viewpoints of different characters really didn't work in this book and seemed unnecessary. On one hand it seemed like the author was trying to do too much and on the other hand not enough. The ending was also weak. Overall, this was a disappointing read.
Joe Baptist
This one didn't live up to my expectations. Told from multiple viewpoints, the stories failed to interconnect in a meaningful way, and the book left me flat.
If some of the minor viewpoint narratives were fleshed out, and the stories interconnected, instead of simply passing like ships in the night, this would have been a much better book.
Shawna
I was drawn to the book because of the beautiful artwork on the cover. The cover was the best part of the book. The story had too many different characters telling their own story. I had to keep referring to the front of the book that listed off who was who and where that the character lived. Too confusing and not entertaining.
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Tony Abbott (born 1952) is an American author of children's books. His most popular work is the book series The Secrets of Droon, which includes over 40 books. He has sold over 12 million copies of his books and they have been translated into several other languages, including Italian, Spanish, Korean, French, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, and Russian. He has also written the bestseller "Firegirl".
Ab...more
More about Tony Abbott...
Firegirl The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet (The Secrets of Droon, #1) Journey to the Volcano Palace (The Secrets of Droon, #2) The Mysterious Island (The Secrets of Droon, #3) City in the Clouds (The Secrets Of Droon, #4)

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