Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book review: "The (Mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg," by Rodman Philbrick

The (Mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (2009)

By Rodman Philbrick
The Blue Sky Press / Scholastic

A friend has convinced me to try my hand this year for the first time at children's literature; but I don't actually know anything about children's literature, so am starting the process among other ways by first reading a stack of existing books that have been recommended to me. My most recent, The (Mostly) True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (also a 2010 Newbery Honoree), turns out to be historical fiction, specifically about a wisecracking child during the American Civil War of the 1860s, whose teenaged brother is illegally sold into proscription with the Union Army by an abusive guardian; and I'm not planning on writing historical fiction myself, so don't have much to say about this other than that I found it to be just fine for what it is, and that it reads not just like a kid's version of a Mark Twain story but literally like an actual Mark Twain story. It's around 50,000 words altogether, and is best in my opinion for adventure-loving boys in middle school or junior high, or in other words from around 11 to 14 in age. (And a special warning to parents of younger children -- this book contains exactly as many dark elements as you would expect from a story about neglected rural children in the 1860s.)

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