Friday, April 27, 2007
Books about war have been popular this year in our library. Cracker is both a dog story and a Vietnam War story, and readers who like either kind of book will like this one. A boy is forced to give up his beloved dog, Cracker, because it's not allowed in his family's apartment. The best place they find to send Cracker is to the U.S. Army, where she will be trained to sniff out explosives, hiding enemy soldiers, and other dangerous things, and be sent to Vietnam. Rick is the young soldier who becomes Cracker's "handler." Together they face some frightening and life-changing things in Vietnam, and their experiences with finding booby traps, tunnels, and other deadly traps make for interesting reading. We get inside Cracker's head and find out what she is thinking sometimes, which sounds corny, but really isn't. Rick is a believable young man who survives the horrors of Vietnam thanks to Cracker, who is a really great dog. The problem is that back then, when the U.S. Army was done with a dog, they usually had it put to sleep. Recommended especially for 6th and 7th graders.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
This brand new book written in free verse tells about the growing and blossoming of a seventh grade girl named Josie. Living with a grandmother and mother who love gardening and growing things, Josie has learned many of their secrets and skills. She herself needs special care because, even though she is smart and capable of many things, her cerebral palsy makes speaking and movement difficult. Her best friend is really her grandma because classmates rarely talk to her or take time to get to know her. When "rich kids" start moving into new houses near her family farm, a new boy comes along who becomes her first true friend. Justin is a science geek, and he doesn't seem to care what other kids think about who he is friends with. Justin and Josie do science experiments and grow plants and their friendship grows as the spring turns to summer. This book will appeal to readers who like poetry and who like to read about characters who overcome challenges and grow into their true selves.