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on 9 March 2001
It was in verse which was a nice change. If it had been in prose the author would have been obliged to write it very differently and would probably have ended up putting in a plot which would really have spoiled it. The lack of plot did not matter. The book was written as a bunch of memories that occurred over a summer known to Eugene as 'the summer of the airplane' because it was the single biggest memory for him despite its irrelevance.
It is in a genre along with 'Tom Sawyer'. It covers the same themes; the young American's fixation with all to do with the dead, irrational juvenile superstitions and boyhood crushes. The characters have their outlines sketched in such a way that you areinvited to fill them in with an intense reality you can identify with.
The fact it is in verse could scare young readers. For modern children it seems a challenge to pick up a book they enjoy straight away, let alone one that takes a little effort to read which is a shame.
This is sold as a childrens book but I think it touched my sentimental side at exactly the right level. It is certainly no 'Winnie-the-Pooh' but it is a charming tale in which nothing happened because, well, nothing really does. It was a flurry of thoughts that areboth endearing and satisfying.
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on 23 February 2000
Outstanding evocation of small town American life in the 1930's through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.Written as a narrative blank verse, each chapter is perfect in it's own right.(they make perfect sense read in any order). very well written, thoughtful and full of ideas. This is a great book. While the subject may have limited appeal in the hands of the right child it could change their life.
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