I was hesitant to read this book because I tried to read The Wednesday Wars and just couldn't get into it. I didn't like the writing style of the bookI was hesitant to read this book because I tried to read The Wednesday Wars and just couldn't get into it. I didn't like the writing style of the book and didn't finish it even though TONS of people have loved the book. However, I've seen rave reviews of Trouble and decided to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did.
Trouble is a book filled with intense emotion, racial tension, forgiveness, quest for self, and more. I think that a lot of readers, boys and girls alike will love this book. My only beef with the writing was that all of the book's "loose ends" seemed to be tied up nice and neatly by the end of the book in a way that almost seemed unrealistic. I don't want to go into details for the people who haven't read the book, but I guess I would have liked a little more originality. (Don't beat me up for saying this Trouble fans!) ...more
It's the early 1600s, and Tuk, a young Inuit boy sees a giant ship approaching his group's winter camp on the Baffin Islands. It's a ship of EuropeanIt's the early 1600s, and Tuk, a young Inuit boy sees a giant ship approaching his group's winter camp on the Baffin Islands. It's a ship of European whalers who've been blown off course. These "Qallunnaat" (foreigners) are malnourished and exhausted, and they appeal to the islanders for their help catching "Arvik," a breed of a gigantic and elusive black whale. There is distrust and uncertainty on both sides, as is evidenced by Tuk's thoughts early on in the book:
"Strangers couldn't be trusted. They weren't related by blood, or by marriage. They didn't bring news of friends and family in other camps. They could take things, break things--even hurt people. It was easy for strangers to do bad things to people because they didn't know anyone. And they could always just leave again." (p. 16)
Nevertheless, realizing that the whale could feed their people for months, the people of the camp agree to help out. What follows is an account of an exciting hunt for the great Arvik.
Tuk and the Whale is a story that provides a glimpse into what life was like for the Inuit people very early on in the whaling industry. We see the importance of whales to both the European whalers and the Inuits, though both are very different. Throughout the story, readers are introduced to a number of Inuit words, and a short glossary in the back of the book defines each one.
It's obvious that Ms. Rivera conducted thorough research to write this book, and she did an exceptional job of seamlessly weaving details of her research into a story that reveals the importance of family, teamwork, and tradition. I appreciate the fact that Ms. Rivera does not neatly tie the book up in a pretty little bow. Instead, it foreshadows the serious troubles that befell the native peoples in the boom of the whaling industry.
Young readers will enjoy reading this book, and it would make an excellent introduction to a unit on the whaling industry and the Inuit culture....more
This Lemony Snicketish novel features the four Willoughby children who long to be "old fashioned," like the characters in many of the books they loveThis Lemony Snicketish novel features the four Willoughby children who long to be "old fashioned," like the characters in many of the books they love like Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, and James and the Giant Peach. Tim, the oldest, is the rather bossy leader of his siblings: identical twins Barnaby A and Barnaby B (A and B for short), and the youngest and timid Jane. It's very clear from the beginning that their parents are well--not that much into being parents. The banker father is "impatient and irascible," and their mother is "indolent and ill-tempered." They "frequently forgot that they had children and became quite irritable when they were reminded of it." They actually become so irritable with their children that they devise a plan to get rid of them by selling their house while they go on vacation. Little do they know that this adventurous (and highly dangerous) vacation is the children's plan to get rid of their parents so that they may finally become old-fashioned orphans. But things don't go EXACTLY as planned, and along the way, the Willoughby children learn a little bit about kindness and find a loving family of their own.
I found myself snickering at the book from the very beginning, and it's actually kind of difficult to tie it up into a neat little description. It's dark yet irreverent and lighthearted at the same time. Lowry does a fantastic job of weaving in hilarious scenarios and funny characters, from the kind nanny who disguises herself as Aphrodite to scare off potential home buyers to the rich benefactor who made his fortune in the candy industry. I also immensely enjoyed the references to lots of classic "orphan" books she pokes fun of.
But let me SHOW you what I'm talking about. In this passage, the children receive a postcard from their parents.
"'Dear ones,'" Tim read. "'Though slightly bruised, we have survived quite a lovely earthquake (you may have read the headlines: THOUSANDS KILLED)...'"
"'Oh my," Jane said sadly. "I suppose kittens were killed, too. How sad."
"Shhh," Tim told her, and he continued. '"...and next we are off to kayak a crocodile-infested river. Such FUN! '"
"They don't know how to kayak!" Barnaby A exclaimed.
"They never once have kayaked," his twin added.
"Precisely," Tim said. (pages 56-57)
Even Lowry's glossary in the back is injected with this same type of bizarre humor, and she even takes a poke at herself:
IGNOMINIOUS means shamefully weak and ineffective. Oliver Twist saying, "Please sir, might I have some more?" would be ignominious, except that he isn't shameful, just sort of pathetic. This book has ignominious illustrations. They are shamefully weak because the person who drew them is not an artist. (p. 163)
(Lowry herself sketched all of the illustrations in the book).
I predict that children and parents alike will love this book even though some young children may not get all of the jokes. However, those that do will probably read it over and over again and find something new to laugh at every time. I admit that I was first a little skeptical when I heard that Lowry would be writing a humorous book, but like all of her books, she executed it with perfection and added her own special style....more