This isn't my favorite book by Ibbotson. While I still enjoyed the elements of the absurd, it lacked the charm of books like "Island of the Aunts" andThis isn't my favorite book by Ibbotson. While I still enjoyed the elements of the absurd, it lacked the charm of books like "Island of the Aunts" and "Dial-A-Ghost." Still, it had it's fun moments and it is fairly fast-paced....more
On his way home from school eight year-old Barney discovers he is being haunted, and not much later he learns his great-uncle Barnaby (whom he was namOn his way home from school eight year-old Barney discovers he is being haunted, and not much later he learns his great-uncle Barnaby (whom he was named after) has died. But he soon learns that Barnaby isn't the one haunting him, rather, the haunting is related to a secret about relationships, inheritances, and family.
Have I mentioned how fond I am of Margaret Mahy? The Haunting won her the Carnegie Medal in 1982. She's a wonderful writer - I love her sentences. Here are a few:
"When, suddenly, on an ordinary Wednesday, it seemed to Barney that the world tilted and ran downhill in all directions, he knew he was about to be haunted again."
"There were some elderly family friends, all unknown to the Palmers, and sitting in the biggest chair of all, Great-Grandmother Scholar, even more scribbled on and screwed up by time than Barney had remembered her. She was absolutely neat, so neat that she seemed like a doll brought out of a glass case in a museum and sat up especially for the occasion. But her eyes were sharp and unfriendly, and her wrinkles were untidy - even wild as if time had played a careless game of tic-tac-toe all over her."
"Tabitha found she could easily imagine Barney being whisked off the path, could see a horribly think but hairy arm coming out of the bushes and pulling him into the shadowy tunnels of the hedge. And then of course he would never be seen again. Tabitha shuddered, astonished to find how precious he was, how much she wanted to look after him. Up until then he had simply been a brother, part of the family furniture, around the house whether she wanted him or not."...more
That is how I feel after finishing Sharon Draper's YA novel Copper Sun. Blessed to have read such a beautifully written piece of historical fiction chThat is how I feel after finishing Sharon Draper's YA novel Copper Sun. Blessed to have read such a beautifully written piece of historical fiction charting the devastating passage of Amari into slavery, following the trauma of the middle passage, her purchase by a plantation owner as a birthday present for his 16 year old son, and the inhuman treatment throughout. And yet I am scarred for the same reason. The book is brutal, but it is beautiful too.
I'm glad I read this. I had been putting it off - the book has been on my coffee table for several weeks - because I knew how it would affect me. Like many of us who love to read, I frequently am emotionally involved in my reading. Always have been. Not with everything, of course, but I feel my books. Know my books, know me. Or, perhaps better stated: know my reading, know me.
I will find a way to integrate this book into my teaching someday. I know I will. Visit the author's site - she has assembled a wonderful bibliography of source material about slavery....more
Every year in Waymar, at the conclusion of the Family Fest at a local park, is the annual pigeon shoot in which the men of the town use pigeons - 5 thEvery year in Waymar, at the conclusion of the Family Fest at a local park, is the annual pigeon shoot in which the men of the town use pigeons - 5 thousand of them - as target practice and the ten year old boys serve as wringers, wringing the neck of injured (but not yet dead) birds. Boys in the town look forward to their tenth birthday, the day they are eligible to become wringers. That is, boys other than our protagonist, Palmer LaRue. Palmer's dreaded the day since his first experience at the pigeon kill as a four year old.
Unfortunately for Palmer, the gang of boys he runs around with are led by the bully Beans, a virulent pigeon-hater who can't wait to be a wringer. When Palmer invites a pigeon (Nipper) into his room one winter night, he acquires both a pet and a secret. When the gang discovers Palmer has the pigeon, he becomes an outcast living in fear for himself and for Nipper.
This is a story of callous brutality and the power and perils of peer pressure. While we didn't have a pigeon killing event where I'm from, I feel like I know these kids. The pressure to belong to the "right" group, despite the personal consequences, is powerful. Palmer's early desire to align himself with a group of bullies is, in some ways, easy to understand. His membership protects him (until he rebels) from harassment. He gains the esteem of other students in his school. But, the secrecy weighs on him. And, in the end, his choice to follow his own conscience places him in an uncertain position at the story's end, a realistic conclusion to a difficult situation in a difficult book....more