Much ADO about Aldo Library Binding – 1 Aug 1978
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"Much Ado About Aldo"
by Johanna Hurwitz
(William Morrow, 1978)
If you've enjoyed the all classic Beverly Cleary books and are looking for similar material, low-key stories about regular kids in everyday situations, then you might want to check out Johanna Hurwitz and her New York-based ouvre. This is the first of several books about a young boy named Aldo Sossi who is in third grade and eager to learn about the world. Aldo is also a very sensitive kid, and when his teacher first gets some crickets for the class terrariums and then gets some chameleons to eat the crickets (as part of a Science lesson) Aldo gets so upset on the crickets' behalf that he begins to think over his own relationship to food, and realizes that he no longer wants to eat animals himself. This is an excellent introduction to the concept of vegetarianism, and may be a good tool for opening discussions inside families where the issue comes up. (In the future books, Aldo is still a vegetarian, so he may be a good role model or reaffirmation for children who make similar choices.) More importantly, the tone of Hurwitz's writing is always a delight - fun to read aloud, with characters you can grow close to. Recommended! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain children's book reviews)
Joe Sixpack's review gives a good overview of the story, so I won't repeat -- but if you have elementary age children, definitely definitely expose your children to Johanna Hurwitz books. They are right up there with the books of Barbara Park (Junie B. Jones), Beverly Cleary (Ramona, Mouse and the Motorcycle, Dear Mr. Henshaw), E. B. White (Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte's Web) and Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud not Buddy, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Elijah of Buxton) -- all children authors my children and I love and adore. (And I have to give a plug for one of our all time favorite children's books: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner -- Volume 1, the original story).
Books mold character as well as the mind, and Aldo, the main character in 'Much Ado About Aldo' is a wonderful role model for children. He views the world with interest and curiosity, and would make a fine scientist when he grows up. A child who views life as Aldo does will never be bored, lonely, close-minded or 'hateful'. Again, highly recommended.