Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mom and Me Mondays: Scholastic Edition

Sorry my partner in crime did not finish this one due to schooling and extra curricular activities.  I did read some of it to him and he thought it might be a little too old for him, but he will try it out later.  I think he will like it probably when he is 10 or so, he is a great reader but very sensitive, some of the serious historical stuff would freak him out and he would have nightmares (and than I would get even less sleep than I do now -- with Jesse "sleep is for sissies" Rayment)


Countdown  
by Deborah Wiles
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-10605-4
Ages: 9-12

Description: It's 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Twelve-year-old Franny Chapman lives with her family in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances. For Franny, as for all Americans, it's going to be a formative year.

Good Stuff:
  • Wonderfully realistic portrayal of a pre-teens anguish and fear during the cuban missile crisis. Her (Fanny) fear of the unknown and the changes going on with her family and friends is so beautifully written and realistic. The main character has to deal with all those horrible emotional growing pains while at the same time dealing with the fear that the "enemy" could just blow them up at any time
  • All of the characters are interesting and unusual and the author describes them so well that you feel like you know them.
  • Weaves fact and fiction so beautifully together.  It is as no surprise that the story is based on the authors experiences during this tense moment in history.
  • Fanny's imaginary letters to Khrushchev
  • The relationship between the Fanny and her Uncle Otis who is obviously suffering from post traumatic stress disorder
  • Fanny's teacher Mrs Rodriguez love for and stories of Cuba
  • The tumultuous relationship between Fanny and her mom
  • Beautiful scenes between Fanny and her sister, especially the one where she shows her how to dance
Not so Good Stuff:
  • I liked all the mixed media within the book, but I would have preferred it all to either be at the beginning or the end of the story, as I found it distracted from the story when it was mixed in with it.  That is just my opinion and lets face it I'm 40 and have 2 small children -- I already have far too many distractions!
What I Learned
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis was very scary and it really makes you understand the development of the American psyche (This is not a dig -- I love Americans -- well --  a lot of them anyway, I don't have much love for George W Bush and Tom Cruise)
  • Tons of facts about American history, that I really had no knowledge or understanding of
Favorite Quotes/Passages

There are always scary things happening in the world. There are always wonderful things happening. And it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to approach the world . . . how you’re going to live in it, and what you’re going to do.”

Where have you been ? she asks in her Spanish inquisition voice.


How can I be scared of such a beautiful country full of people  who are related to my teacher?

Who Should Read
  • Americans who lived through this time - especially if they were young
  • Perfect for discussions of history by Teachers and Librarians (OR Library Technicians) -- this is a definite must have for any school or public library
  • Canadians so they can understand a little more about how scary this time period was for our neighbors in the US
4.5 Dewey's (Sorry couldn't figure out how to do a half a .jpg)


The book was given to me by Scholastic in return for an honest review

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