I just finished reading this with my 10 year old son for our evening read.
Beginning with the fairly incredible (in the purest sense of the word) actio...moreI just finished reading this with my 10 year old son for our evening read.
Beginning with the fairly incredible (in the purest sense of the word) action of a young teenager climbing a skyscraper in Manhattan, my initial reaction was worry that the book was going to be a series of "boy that was cool I can't believe he did that no worries no repercussions" kind of book, and how was I going to get through it.
As fantastic as that event might be, the author does a very good job of fleshing out character, morality, and the decisions and emotion that go into dealing with family, community, and high adventure, while the main character ("Peak" of course) finds his way to a summit attempt at Everest.
Now, I'm no adventure junkie and cannot fathom the desire to risk so much to scale a mountain. But this book was exciting and well paced when it came to describing both the incongruity of speed and tedium that appear to be a part of mountain climbing.
For the YA lit crowd, I think this is a fantastic read for both cool factor and emotional honesty.
If I were going to ding this book at all: there is one section where there is a passing reference to some women who might want to go into Peak's father's tent that I thought was pretty out of place. (As far as I can tell the implication went over my 10yo's head.) Also some light swearing, but nothing I'm sure hasn't been heard on any playground, and that fit within the confines of the story.(less)
A good compilation of Robin Hood stories, all bound together with a thread of pursuit and of the creation of the merry men, but each story can stand a...moreA good compilation of Robin Hood stories, all bound together with a thread of pursuit and of the creation of the merry men, but each story can stand alone.
The stories are told with a fair mix of old-speak and common language that wasn't too daunting to read to my 10 year old, and he liked the "authentic" feel of it.
There were parts he laughed out loud at, but also one clunker of a story (Semi spoiler: Robin Hood and Maid Marian don't recognize each other and have an all out swordfight? really now.)
Since it is a retelling of many stories that likely overlapped in oral tradition, some repetition of content through character, such as Sir Guy always being Sir Guy, as a very flat character overall.
I would recommend it, especially in this edition which is bound *very* nicely, contains a built in ribbon bookmark and has a nice feel to it, along with a few nice illustrations.
If rating from my 10yo son's perspective, would probably add a star.(less)
I began seeking out a few historical fiction type books to read with my 10yo son during our evening sessions, and thought this, along with Mr. Lincoln...moreI began seeking out a few historical fiction type books to read with my 10yo son during our evening sessions, and thought this, along with Mr. Lincoln's Drummer looked promising.
The writing was even, and the idea of the story was OK, but as we went through it the plot plodded along without much spark or suspense. About 40 pages in we kind of looked at each other and just closed the book without finishing.
Perhaps the timing wasn't right, but just didn't work out for us.(less)
My 7 year old daughter and I enjoyed this book - her writing is nice; along the lines of Elizabeth Enright at times but with characters a bit less con...moreMy 7 year old daughter and I enjoyed this book - her writing is nice; along the lines of Elizabeth Enright at times but with characters a bit less contemplative.
The story is a good one, the depiction of the kids is realistic and fun, and the mystery aspect of it kept my daughter either guessing or allowed us the fun of discussing why the characters' perspectives and deductions were sometimes off-base.
I would have given this a solid 4 stars had the book not devolved at about the halfway point into a drawn out parade of stories barely connected to the main plot line. I do like side plots and meanderings, but they just kept on coming and it felt a bit as if the author were trying to cram several ideas she loved but didn't know what to do with into the book.
Still, would recommend it and look forward to another slice of the Pye books.(less)
I read this book to help in my understanding of context while researching my Irish family. This book delves into the local town and family structures...moreI read this book to help in my understanding of context while researching my Irish family. This book delves into the local town and family structures of Ireland of almost 100 years ago, even to the point of drawing up a typical home floorplan.
The book is based on pre-WWII social research, so is not really a warm and fuzzy read, but does provide a nice amount of information if you care to know about the social structures of rural Ireland.
Admittedly, I scanned through sections that continued on far past their usefulness to me, but when writing up a family history I am sure I will be using portions of the book as color reference.(less)
I think this book had some good potential at the start, but quickly became fairly bland. I also thought the attitude of the characters to their siblin...moreI think this book had some good potential at the start, but quickly became fairly bland. I also thought the attitude of the characters to their siblings' disappearances was very oddly blasé, à la "Hey, my little brother is missing and may have fallen off of a boat in a dark and watery environment! Let's have lunch!"
At one point just after the 2nd disappearance the kids take a ride on It's a Small World and that section turns into a matter-of-fact pointing out of each section of the ride. While the lack of real descriptive writing may be the author trying to keep it simple for a certain age group, I think more flavor was needed.
I like the idea of intertwining the excitement of a trip to Disney with some sort of intrigue, but this fell flat for me. Making that intrigue a serious thing such as child kidnapping (even with a very short and poor attempt at cartoonifying one of the bad guys) really doesn't work in the context of the Disney atmosphere. At least in relation to the vision I, as a parent, would hope my kids have for Disney.
What little description there was at the start became more of a drone of "where do we have to go next", and the wrap-up for where the clues were coming from felt like a big plot hole for me.
Even knowing that my complaints are taken from my own parental point of view and kids may see it differently: my son kind of glazed over about half way through and we ended up speeding through the rest.
If half-stars were allowed, I'd bump it up to 2.5 on a generous day. Sorry, author.(less)
This was a very good read for my 9 year old son and I together. The story of the narrator's friend Rufus coming up with a business idea, following thr...moreThis was a very good read for my 9 year old son and I together. The story of the narrator's friend Rufus coming up with a business idea, following through with it, AND providing all of the math problems that led them to their entertaining and a good subversive way of getting some math instruction in.
I found my son trying to do the math in his head before I got to the explanations in the book, which was great.
There are parts of the story where the narrator wonders aloud about the effects of bigotry or insularism in mixed neighborhoods and in business, that I thought were kind of shoehorned in. They either could have used a bit more time on the page, or could have been left out.
However, as someone who was the age these kids are in the early to mid 1970s living just east of Queens, NY, I can say that the issues at hand in the book were presented accurately, if not completely.
On the flip side of my last comment of possible needing more detail dedicated to character interaction and race, I think the story's detail on the lengths to which the other businesses went in the last 3rd of the book was kind of unwarranted for the tone of this book.
Throwing in a bit of organized crime for flavor was kind of like using a hammer to kill a fly. By the time we reached the end of the book some of the fun and joy we vicariously experienced via Rufus' math-filled business building was lost after trekking through this darker section and another screenplay interlude chapter.
Having said all of that - I do recommend it for kids in the 9 to 12 range, but there is some discussion to be had after the last sections. I thought of giving it a 3 star rating due to all of those "complaints", but I do think the idea and subject overall make it an almost-4-star book.(less)
I am a BIG fan of Elizabeth Enright. The Melendy Quartet of books were some of my favorite reads with our kids (see my other reviews of those books.)
T...moreI am a BIG fan of Elizabeth Enright. The Melendy Quartet of books were some of my favorite reads with our kids (see my other reviews of those books.)
This book is one of her earlier books and I can see the spark of the Melendy books beginning here. But, (and as my less than 10 year old kids would like to hear me say) - I have a Big But.
There are some beautifully written passages in Thimble Summer - the harvesting section in particular. However, the book as a whole feels disjointed. In the Melendy books there are certain sections that feel dated, which is understandable as they were written in the 1940s.
But, even when the children in those books go on Manhattan jaunts that would make today's helicopter parents go into apoplexy, there is more of a transition on the cause and effects of the child's decision.
Some similar jaunts are made by Garnet in this book, but somehow here I felt more concerned as a parent for her hitchhiking, daring bus riding et al, rather than enjoy those freedoms from the perspective of the character as I did in the Melendy quartet.
Funnily enough, there are even some of the same story lines in this book as those: stuck on a Ferris Wheel, arrival and welcoming of a lost boy are two I noticed.
I suppose the real litmus test of this book is my 6 year old daughter, who LOVED the Melendy books asked to stop reading this one a few times in the middle. We soldiered on with some book breaks and am glad we did for some passages, but overall, if you haven't already I would recommend you get a copy of The Saturdays and work your way through the Melendy Quartet instead.(less)