ALAN v23n1 - THE BOOK CONNECTION- Clip and File Reviews of Short Story Collections

Volume 23, Number 1
Fall 1995

Clip and File Reviews of Short Story Collections

Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Loughery, John, editor

Into the Widening World: International Coming-Of-Age Stories
Reviewed by John H. Bushman
University of Kansas
Ottawa, Kansas

Schinto, Jeanne, editor
Show Me a Hero
Reviewed by Alan M. McLeod
Professor of English Education
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Brooks, Martha
Traveling On into the Light and Other Stories
Reviewed by Gerry McBroom
Assistant Dean, Arts and Sciences
Albuquerque T-VI Community College
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Coffer, Judith Ortiz
An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio
Reviewed by Nancy E. Zuwiyya
English Teacher
Binghamton City School District
Binghamton, New York

Into the Widening World: International Multicultural Stories
Coming-Of-Age Stories by John Loughery, ed. ISBN: 0-89255-204-2
Persea Books, 1995. 268 pp. $11.95
Into the Widening World: International Coming-Of-Age Stories contains numerous short stories with themes and settings from cultures around the world. Stories take the reader to the streets of Cairo, to a hidden grove in Jamaica, to the nightmarish forests of wartime Nigeria, to the Canadian border, and other settings around the world. These stories provide the reader with multiple views of young people who, on the surface, would seem to be very different but in reality have many of the same qualities and concerns as American young adults. Some stories will provide challenges for the younger reader primarily because of the differences in style of international authors. Violence is prevalent in some stories, as is strong language. The international flavor of the book, however, provides for exciting reading.
The ALAN Review John H. Bushman
Fall 1995 University of Kansas

Show Me a Hero by Jeanne Schinto, ed. Sports/Short Stories
Persea Books, 1995. 263 pp. $13.95 ISBN: 0-89255-209-3
Schinto effectively groups 21 stories in 6 categories. The sports, ranging from rowing to soccer, hockey to basketball, golf to running, are vehicles to examine, as Schinto states, "the themes and issues that sports evoke." Opening with Jim Shepard's "Ida," a story about a professional football team with a mother as the star running back, the book includes stories from as far back as 1960 -- Toni Cade Bambara's "Raymond's Run" -- through Garrison Keillor's "What Did We Do Wrong?" (1989) to Marisa Labozzetta's "Offsides," written especially for this volume.
The book contains both male and female protagonists and is almost as diverse in ethnic group representation as sports. About more than winning or losing, the book is an examination of various aspects of the human condition. A good read, provocative and generally for older adolescents.
The ALAN Review Alan M. McLeod
Fall 1995 Virginia Commonwealth University

Traveling On into the Light and Other Relationships/Short Stories
Stories by Martha Brooks ISBN: 0-531-06863-3
Orchard Books, 1994. 146 pp. $14.95
Eleven short stories sure to be interesting to junior-high and high-school readers focus on friendships and family relationships. The first eight stories have different male and female characters who, except for one, tell their stories in the first person. The elements common to all are dysfunctional families dealing with alcohol, suicide, divorce, or abuse. Despite these difficult topics, each story ends on a positive note with the teen finding "light." For example, Sammy of the title piece has to struggle but accepts her father's homosexuality. Laker, a runaway, is told by his mother not to come back; however, he finds a home with an elderly stranger who also is alone. Alvina, who lives with her alcoholic mother and the sister she has raised, discovers comfort in a friend from special education class. The last three narratives, which share characters, would have made a good novel. And that's the disappointment: the book ends.
The ALAN Review Gerry McBroom
Fall 1995 Albuquerque T-VI Community College

An Island Like You: Stories of the Multicultural/Short Stories
Barrio by Judith Ortiz Coffer ISBN: 0-531-06897-8
Orchard Books, 1995. 165 pp. $15.95
In these twelve short stories, Coffer explores ethnicity in Paterson, New Jersey, where these Puerto Rican teenagers live. They complain about parents and trapped lives but also discuss boyfriends and beauty secrets. Coffer shows how teenagers think and respond in stereotypes. She lets the reader see that stereotypical thinking also has affected the way the reader reads. Not only do these teenagers reject their grandparents, but they also reject retarded adults, unwed teen mothers, and their heritage. Coffer also utilizes local color and the Spanish language to validate the experiences of these teenagers, whether at the local pool, the school, or El Building.
Most of the stories are told from a first-person female point of view. A couple are third-person with a male protagonist. Students will learn much about perspective. Reading Coffer's book is like living in El Building and getting to know the neighborhood.
The ALAN Review Nancy E. Zuwiyya
Fall 1995 Binghamton City School District

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction and Nonfiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Lester, Julius
Othello: A Novel
Reviewed by Barbara G. Samuels
Associate Professor, Language Arts and Reading
University of Houston--Clear Lake
Clear Lake, Texas

Zindel, Paul
Reviewed by Anne Sherrill
Professor of English
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, Tennessee

Hinojosa, Maria
Crews: Gang Members Talk to Maria Hinojosa
Reviewed by Judy Stoffel
Professor of English
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana

Levine, Ellen
Anna Pavlova: Genius of the Dance
Reviewed by Joyce A. Litton
Library Associate
Ohio University Library
Athens, Ohio

Othello: A Novel by Julius Lester Racial Issues
Scholastic, 1995. 160 pp. $12.95 ISBN: 0-590-41967-6
Shakespeare's plays often retell stories from other sources. In this novel, Julius Lester reverses that order and transforms Othello from drama to novel form. In doing so, he further investigates the characters of Othello, Iago, and Desdemona and provides answers to questions left unanswered by Shakespeare. He transforms Iago and his wife Emilia into Africans, sets the novel in England, and explores the racial issues in the story. Lester, author of books on slavery and African Americans in the United States, makes the mixed-race marriage and the relationships between blacks and whites more relevant and accessible to contemporary young people with his interpretation of the play. Of course most of the language in the novel is changed, but readers familiar with Shakespeare will recognize phrases and sentences as well as modern paraphrasing of allusions to Elizabethan society. Othello: A Novel may provide a transition to help students move into Shakespeare while at the same time raising challenging questions for discussion.
The ALAN Review Barbara G. Samuels
Fall 1995 University of Houston--Clear Lake

Loch by Paul Zindel Adventure
Harper Collins, 1994. 210 pp. $15.00 ISBN: 0-06-024543-3
Fifteen-year-old Loch embarks on high adventure as he and his sister Zaidee determine to save prehistoric sea monsters from the well-equipped army of a greedy publisher named Cavenger, who is determined to harvest one of the creatures. When threatened, these creatures are lethal, as three deaths prove. However, Loch and Zaidee earn the trust of a young plesiosaur and communicate with it. They learn that the monster cries and feels pain just as humans do.
Two characters face moral decisions. Dr. Sam, a marine scientist and the widowed father of Loch and Zaidee, must decide whether to use his knowledge to set the monsters free. Loch must maintain his sense of fairness by risking his life to rescue the beasts from senseless slaughter. The early adolescent will enjoy the relentless excitement as well as learn about salmon grids, sea life, scuba diving, and human selfishness.
The ALAN Review Anne Sherrill
Fall 1995 East Tennessee State University

Crews: Gang Members Talk to Maria Gangs/Violence
Hinojosa by Maria Hinojosa ISBN: 0-15-292873-1
Harcourt Brace, 1995. 168 pp. $17.00
The word "crews" refers to gangs of teenagers in New York City, mostly of South American or African-American backgrounds. Most of the book consists of interviews with crew members who describe the benefits, obligations, and frustrations associated with membership. National Public Radio reporter Hinojosa comments minimally on what the teens tell her without passing judgment. The perspectives are mostly male, though one chapter is devoted to female crew members. Gang violence is described graphically, so the squeamish should be forewarned. Aspects of gang mentality are clarified through the comments of young people with names like Coki, Shank, Tre, and C-Roy. Examples of their comments are "never let anybody know that you're scared or they think they can control you"; "if you don't got a crew, then you're lost, I guess. `Cause everybody else got a crew." The book would make a starting point for an examination of the nature of family or community.
The ALAN Review Judy Stoffel
Fall 1995 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Anna Pavlova: Genius of the Dance by Ellen Levine Ballet
Scholastic, 1995. 132 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-590-44304-6
Anna Pavlova: Genius of the Dance should appeal not only to middle-school girls who are interested in ballet but should also fascinate those who enjoy history and travel. The author briefly presents Pavlova's childhood, emphasizing her time at the Russian Imperial Ballet School. The remainder of the book deals with her rise to fame and her travels in Europe, the United States, and South America to perform for people of all economic classes.
Levine emphasizes Pavlova's obsession with dance and her grueling schedule. Her husband was a minor figure in her life. She refused to have children, but, not devoid of maternal instincts, she founded a ballet school. Pavlova donated much time to giving performances for charity.
The author does not imply that Pavlova was perfect, but the only flaws that she notes are occasional dark moods and "workaholism." This well-written book is young adult biography at its best.
The ALAN Review Joyce A. Litton
Fall 1995 Ohio University Library

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Randle, Kristen D.
The Only Alien on the Planet
Reviewed by C. Anne Webb
St. Louis, Missouri

Rodowsky, Colby
Sydney, Invincible
Reviewed by Hollis Lowery-Moore
Associate Professor of Education
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas

Feuer, Elizabeth
Lost Summer
Reviewed by Joyce C. Lackie
Professor of English
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colorado

Klass, Sheila Solomon
Next Stop: Nowhere
Reviewed by Joanne Peters
Kelvin High School
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle Abuse
Scholastic, 1995. 228 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-590-46309-8
Ginny Christianson's parents move their family and business from the West Coast to the midlands. Ginny's is a large, talking, touching, sharing, kidding, trusting, happy family. As she surveys the "male possibilities" on her first day in the new school, her eyes fall on a well-dressed, neat, but quiet Advance-Placement classmate. She is told, "Smitty Tibbs has never said a word to anybody." Is he autistic, retarded, strange, like an alien on the planet? How can anyone never talk or touch and yet write sensitive poetry? Needing help with trig, her new neighbor, and Smitty's only friend, Caulder, leads Ginny to Smitty Tibbs, uncovering more secrets than those of higher math. An inside look at a "good" family gone bad.
The ALAN Review C. Anne Webb
Fall 1995 St. Louis, Missouri

Sydney, Invincible by Colby Rodowsky High School/Journalism/Family
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995. 140 pp. $14.00 ISBN: 0-374-37365-5
Middle graders and junior-high readers will love looking ahead to high school as they read about Sydney Downie's junior year at Hawthorne Hills, a private girls' school. The year brings significant changes to Sydney's life. Her mother and Sam, Sydney's former creative-writing teacher, are married and expecting a baby. Her boyfriend, Wally, is frustrated with the constant battling of his parents. And Sydney is named school newspaper editor, even though she would prefer to do the "Dear-Abby-type" column. A fast-paced plot, believable dialogue, and likable characters will keep readers entertained. This novel stands on its own, but adolescents who have read Sydney, Herself will find familiar characters and places.
The ALAN Review Hollis Lowery-Moore
Fall 1995 Sam Houston State University

Lost Summer by Elizabeth Feuer Family Relationships/Friendship
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1995. 185 pp. $16.00 ISBN: 0-374-31020-3
Angry and hurt because of her parents' divorce, Lydia resents being sent to camp with her "perfect" older sister while her mother finishes a master's degree in Italy. To add insult to injury, she finds herself in a cabin with a wimpy bunkmate, a superior jock, and an airhead counselor. Authentically nasty twelve-year-old characters help to create the environment in which Lydia has to choose what kind of person she herself will be.
Her attempt to win her father back and re-establish a sense of belonging leads to a spooky climax in which she and her friend are locked in a dark crawl space -- sure to appeal to the imagination of young readers. Lydia's narrative perspective is unreliable at first but becomes more credible as she overcomes her insecurities and begins to take responsibility for her actions. Fifth-through-seventh-grade girls will identify with her stirrings of independence.
The ALAN Review Joyce C. Lackie
Fall 1995 University of Northern Colorado

Next Stop: Nowhere by Sheila Solomon Klass Family Relationships/Divorce
Scholastic, 1995. 181 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-590-46686-0
For Beth Converse, Allenville, Vermont, is "Nowhere." But after a life of private schools, designer clothes, and Big Apple sophistication, that's where the fourteen-year old finds herself when her mother remarries, moves to Italy, and sends Beth to live with her father, a talented ceramist. Pete Converse has always walked to the beat of his own drummer -- a beat that is simple and decidedly unmaterialistic. No wonder Beth's parents split up. It's a challenge for Beth to find the tempo that fits life in Allenville, but by the end of the book she's on her way. The dialogue is sharp and witty, but Klass is realistic about the pangs of adjusting to life in a new environment, about the tensions and conflicts between parents and children, and about losing your closest friend, just when you've found him.
The ALAN Review Joanne Peters
Fall 1995 Kelvin High School

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Soto, Gary
Summer on Wheels
Reviewed by Jackie Cronin
South High School
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Yep, Laurence
Thief of Hearts
Reviewed by Jennifer Moreland
Media Specialist
Redlands Middle School
Grand Junction, Colorado

Campbell, Eric
The Shark Callers
Reviewed by Chris Crowe
Associate Professor of English
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

Insel, Deborah
Clouded Dreams
Reviewed by Tracy Jean Babiasz
Gaston County Public Library
Gastonia, North Carolina

Summer on Wheels by Gary Soto Friendship/Mexican Americans
Scholastic, 1995. 163 pp. $13.95 ISBN: 0-590-48365-X
Two thirteen-year-old amigos, first introduced in Gary Soto's Crazy Weekend , have the mid-June doldrums. Hector persuades Mando to join him on a bike trip from their East Los Angeles barrio to the Santa Monica Beach. Hector's plan is to pedal several miles a day and then stay over each night with one of his various relatives who live along the way. A disparate and colorful family unfolds as do many serendipitous adventures. In the course of their trek, the boys encounter a spectrum of lifestyles and occupations, plus a genuine brush with street danger. This is a humorous story, warm, with a theme of family unity at its core, which middle-school and junior-high students will enjoy. The occasional Spanish words and phrases, lending an authentic and lively cadence to the prose, are defined in a glossary.
The ALAN Review Jackie Cronin
Fall 1995 South High School

Thief of Hearts by Laurence Yep Chinese Americans
Harper Collins, 1995. 197 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-06-025341-X
Stacy has never thought about her Chinese heritage until she is unwillingly paired with a new immigrant girl, Hong Ch'un. When Hong Ch'un, accused of a series of thefts, runs away to Chinatown, Stacy follows and learns much about her own family's past and cultural values. Woven around a Chinese fable, Thief of Hearts is a sequel to Child of the Owl .
Stacy's adolescent self-discoveries are accentuated by her growing awareness of her cultural background. An interesting side light concerns the changes that have occurred in Chinatown since Stacy's mother grew up there, changes that are mirrored in Stacy, a child of mixed race who has only a passing acquaintance with her cultural heritage, even though her Chinese grandfather lives with the family.
Yep's blending of multicultural themes with a familiar school conflict will appeal to middle-school readers, particularly those living in areas with Asian-American populations.
The ALAN Review Jennifer Moreland
Fall 1995 Redlands Middle School

The Shark Callers by Eric Campbell Pacific Adventure/Survival
Harcourt Brace, 1994. 232 pp. $10.95 ISBN: 0-15-200007-0
Students who enjoy Pacific adventure stories like The Cay , Island of the Blue Dolphins , and Call It Courage may also enjoy Campbell's The Shark Callers . This novel provides plenty of Pacific detail: the training of young Kaleka, a shark caller; the preparation and sailing of the Thompson family's sailboat; the eruption of an island volcano; the Thompsons' survival efforts after being swamped by a tidal wave. Landlubbers may find these details excessive and yearn for Campbell to cut to the plot, but young readers who relish island-adventure books will probably sail right through tsunami of background detail and hook up with the plot.
Campbell's dual plot line has ample suspense. One strand, filled with ominous foreshadowing, follows Kaleka's training and first shark hunt; the other follows the Thompsons' evacuation from Matupi, New Britain, their shipwreck, and survival. Though it lacks the pace and character appeal of Theodore Taylor's Pacific adventure stories, this book will be pleasurable reading for interested students.
The ALAN Review Chris Crowe
Fall 1995 Brigham Young University

Clouded Dreams by Deborah Insel Race Relations
Delphinium Books, 1995. 273 pp. $19.95 ISBN: 0-883-28504-6
Insel's first novel depicts a world unfamiliar to most of us. She describes an urban school filled with racial tension, violence, drugs, and poverty. At first glance, it might seem that the story of Ulysses S. Grant Senior High School and its inhabitants means nothing in the life of average suburban teenagers, and yet they are Insel's intended audience. It is young adults who believe that Insel's world does not exist who most need to read Clouded Dreams . A principal trying to change an unresponsive education system, an idealistic teacher, the principal's daughter, and a teenager forced to grow up too soon are the cast of characters in a well-written story that is terribly real. While Clouded Dreams may not appeal to or be appropriate for younger adolescents, it is an eye-opener for those who believe Grant Senior High School does not exist.
The ALAN Review Tracy Jean Babiasz
Fall 1995 Gaston County Public Library

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Westall, Robert
Falling into Glory
Reviewed by Jim Brewbaker
Chair, Curriculum and Instruction
Columbus College
Columbus, Georgia

Kerr, M.E.
Deliver Us from Evie
Reviewed by Kay Parks Bushman
Language Arts Department Chair
Ottawa High School
Ottawa, Kansas

Bauer, Joan
Reviewed by Teri S. Lesesne
Assistant Professor, Library Science
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas

Covington, Dennis
Lasso the Moon
Reviewed by Ruth K.J. Cline
Professor Emerita
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado

Falling into Glory by Robert Westall Sexual Awakening/Sports
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993. 310 pp. $18.00 ISBN: 0-374-32256-2
Robert Westall, who died before Falling into Glory was published, is hard to bracket. Of course, Westall wrote for young adults, but...
Robbie Atkins, the main character, is all boy. At 12 he fantasizes about Emma Harris, a teacher. By his senior year he acts out those fantasies: Emma, whose fiancee died in World War II, is at first reluctant but eventually an enthusiastic lover. The affair, rendered plausibly, develops against the backdrop of rugby season (Robbie is the team's star). The lovers fear discovery, which eventually occurs and ends their relationship.
It is not the topic that makes this reviewer question whether Falling into Glory is for teenage readers; rather it is the sophisticated relationship between the lovers, which few teens have experienced. For some readers, probably boys, it would be just the right book. But it's not for Every guy.
The ALAN Review Jim Brewbaker
Fall 1995 Columbus College

Deliver Us from Evie by M.E. Kerr Homosexuality/Relationships
Harper collins, 1994. 177 pp. $15.00 ISBN: 0-06-024475-5
Evie Burrman shakes up her family as well as the entire town of Duffton, Missouri, simply by showing her true self for the first time. When she reveals that she is having an affair with Patsy Duff, the daughter of the banker who holds the loan for the Burrman farm, Mr. Duff puts pressure on Evie's parents to do something about their daughter. Even Evie's brother Parr is affected when his girlfriend questions him about his sister's relationship. Despite her family's desire to change Evie, they learn that they cannot -- forcing her, with no other choice, to move away.
Kerr creates a realistic conflict, which frequently surrounds the situation of homosexuality. With realistic characters and a rural setting, she paints a credible plot that should interest mature teens.
The ALAN Review Kay Parks Bushman
Fall 1995 Ottawa High School

Thwonk by Joan Bauer Romance
Delacorte Press, 1995. 215 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-385-32092-2
A.J. is faced with a dilemma: how can she best capture the spirit of Valentine's Day when her love life is such a dud? Enter Jonathan. No, Jonathan is not the love of A.J.'s life; he is her own personal Cupid. When A.J. directs Jonathan to fire his arrow at the object of her affections, one Peter Terris, the results are somewhat different from what she anticipates. Part romance, part fantasy, part coming-of-age novel, Thwonk is totally wonderful reading.
As she proved so ably in Squashed , Bauer has a talent for creating characters who manage to survive the angst of adolescence. Teachers and librarians would do well to recommend large doses of Bauer to those readers of Sweet Valley High and other similar series books. Bauer offers readers more than boy-meets-girl romance fare. Here are likable, rounded characters brought to life by gentle humor and realistic dialogue.
The ALAN Review Teri S. Lesesne
Fall 1995 Sam Houston State University

Lasso the Moon by Dennis Covington Illegal Aliens/Alcoholism
Delacorte, 1995. 196 pp. $15.95 ISBN: 0-385-32101-5
April's father, a once-famous doctor, now a recovering alcoholic, is the counterpoint for Fernando's life on the run from the political and military cruelty in El Salvador. The I.N.S. investigates Fernando's presence, and, when they get close to finding him, he disappears. April's feelings change from disdain towards the poor Latin-American patients who cannot afford medical help to compassion and love for a specific patient, Fernando. Discussion opportunities abound: April loses her job in the stables for acting impulsively one night; the romance is intriguing; and friendships with peers are analyzed. The novels starts slowly as the author develops the characters, but the twist at the end has an O. Henry feel. April is comparable to M.E. Kerr's gutsy girls, and the book is inviting for middle-school and early-high-school readers.
The ALAN Review Ruth K. J. Cline
Fall 1995 University of Colorado

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Nobody's Daughter
Reviewed by Wendy H. Bell
English Teacher
Enka High School
Asheville, North Carolina

Salisbury, Graham
Under the Blood-Red Sun
Reviewed by Lisa J. McClure
Associate Professor of English
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, Illinois

White, Ellen Emerson
The Road Home
Reviewed by Marjorie M. Kaiser
Professor of Secondary Education
University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky

Bunting, Eve
Spying on Miss Müller
Reviewed by Lois Buckman
Moorhead Junior High School
Conroe, Texas

Nobody's Daughter by Susan Beth Pfeffer Homelessness
Delacorte Press, 1995. 153 pp. $14.95 ISBN: 0-385-32106-6
Eleven-year-old Emily Hasbrouck knows what it means to be alone: the loss of her parents and the death of her guardian, Aunt Mabel, have forced her into the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls. Like many of the wards there, Emily has a family she has never seen. At her aunt's funeral, she has learned of a younger sister who had been put up for adoption in infancy. Emily's search for her missing sister provides the basis for this readable tale of loss and survival.
Set in 1913, the novel includes interesting information on the fate of orphans during this time period. Other characters such as Miss Webber, the kindly librarian who befriends Emily and helps in her search, and the cruel Mr. Smiley, Emily's sister's adoptive father, add appeal. However, it is Emily, herself, who makes this otherwise simple novel "work." Tough and resourceful, she will appeal to middle-school students. The issues of family and peer pressure are relevant, and Nobody's Daughter addresses them.
The ALAN Review Wendy H. Bell
Fall 1995 Enka High School

Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury Coming of Age/War
Delacorte Press, 1994. 246 pp. $15.95 ISBN: 0-385-32099-X
Tomi, a first-generation Japanese American, spends his day attending school, helping his father with the pigeons, and playing baseball with his eighth-grade friends. But, this is Hawaii and it's 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese upends Tomi's life. His father and grandfather along with other Japanese men are imprisoned, and Tomi must protect and provide for his family. Most importantly, Tomi must not "disgrace his family" despite the treatment he and other Japanese immigrants receive as a result of the attack. Fortunately, his friends, the Rats, stand by him and Tomi doesn't have to face the challenges alone.
Salisbury's second novel is not only a timeless tale of the loyalty of friends, but it also explores both cross-generational and cross-cultural issues. An easy read, Under the Blood-Red Sun is nevertheless challenging in its content and subject matter. This novel would work well in either an English or a social studies class.
The ALAN Review Lisa J. McClure
Fall 1995 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White Vietnam/Romance
Scholastic, 1995. 469 pp. $15.95 ISBN: 0-590-46737-9
Realities of U.S. Army field hospitals, like those portrayed on the television shows MASH and China Beach , come alive in Part I of this sensitive and insightful story of young Army nurse Rebecca Phillips. At 21, Phillips must face not only the brutalities of the Vietnamese War and the slaughter and maiming of innocent young soldiers but also her own physical injuries, emotional exhaustion, and the deterioration of her relationship with her family back home, torn apart by the conflicting local and national views of U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. In Part II, Phillips' tour is over, and she is back home in Massachusetts, trying to reconnect with family and former friends and struggling to rediscover who she is and what she most values. Though long, The Road Home will absorb older teens because of its rich blend of realism and romance, its in-depth character exploration, and its fast-paced style filled with dialogue and action. Here is a stunning portrait, too, of the role of capable women in military situations.
The ALAN Review Marjorie M. Kaiser
Fall 1995 University of Louisville

Spying on Miss Müller by Eve Bunting World War II/Northern Ireland
Clarion, 1995. 179 pp. $13.95 ISBN: 0-395-69172-9
In this semi-autobiographical novel, Eve Bunting depicts life in a boarding school in Northern Ireland during World War II. Miss Müller had always been the favorite of all the girls, particularly Jessie, until Ireland is at war with Germany. Rumors abound in the dormitory that Miss Müller is a Nazi spy. One night Jessie follows her in the hopes of exonerating her teacher, but instead, Miss Müller, carrying a very large flashlight, goes up on the roof. To further compound Miss Müller's alliances, Jessie finds a hidden picture of the teacher's father dressed in a Nazi uniform. Jessie does not want to believe what everyone thinks, but she is forced to. The evidence is plainly there.
Amidst the background of war and all of its horror, Bunting has written a coming-of-age novel that successfully captures the essence of what life must have been like. The girls do universal things once the lights are out: they play Truth or Dare, tell ghost stories, talk about other kids, and fantasize about what kissing boys must be like.
The ALAN Review Lois Buckman
Fall 1995 Moorhead Junior High

Clip and File Reviews of New Historical Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Alder, Elizabeth
The King's Shadow
Reviewed by Anne Shaughnessy
English Teacher
Fort Clarke Middle School
Gainesville, Florida

Lasky, Kathryn
Beyond the Burning Time
Reviewed by John Noell Moore
English Instructor
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia

Matas, Carol
The Burning Time
Reviewed by Connie Russell
K-12 Reading/Language Arts Coordinator
Eau Claire Area School District
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Forrester, Sandra
Sound the Jubilee
Reviewed by Bonnie O. Ericson
Professor of Education
California State University, Northridge
Northridge, California

The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder Historical Fiction/Anglo-Saxon
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995. 257 pp. $16.00 ISBN: 0-374-34182-6
Evyn, a young Welsh serf, dreams of becoming a traveling storyteller and freeing himself and his father from the land. On the very day Evyn is about to realize his dream, tragedy strikes. Evyn's father is murdered, Evyn's tongue is cut out, and he is sold into slavery. Although all seems lost, Evyn quickly gains the good will of his new mistress, Lady Ealdgyth, who provides for his education in a nearby monastery and introduces him to Harold of Wessex, soon to become the last Saxon King of England.
Set during the last years of Anglo-Saxon rule and climaxing with the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Alder's first novel is an engaging narrative, rich in the history and life of the time. Real and fictional characters are convincingly brought to life. Only William the Conqueror is over the top as a villain. This novel has it all -- adventure, suspense, mystery, and romance -- and can be enjoyed for itself or would work well as part of an interdisciplinary study.
The ALAN Review Anne Shaughnessy
Fall 1995 Fort Clarke Middle School

Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky Salem Witchcraft
The Blue Sky Press, 1994. 272 pp. $13.95 ISBN: 0-590-47331-X
What a wonderful novel! Lasky brilliantly achieves her goal of introducing young readers to the "dynamics of the Salem witch trials" of 1692. Thirty-nine chapters juxtapose the "dark design" of religious and political conspiracy in the Massachusetts colony, the serenity of "the secret life of the countryside," the world of apprentice shipbuilding, and the routines of farm life near Salem Village. Bone-chilling suspense propels the story toward Virginia Chase's arrest as a witch and her children Mary and Caleb's plot to rescue her from hanging. Lasky sets twelve-year-old Mary's growing awareness of her responsibility for her family's safety against themes of hate, greed, and visible and invisible worlds, theocracy, and family love. An Epilogue dated 1779 reveals the fate of all the principal characters. An excellent "Author's Note" explains how Lasky weaves together fiction and history. Useful suggestions for further reading are provided. Not to be missed in grades 6-9, but eerily provocative for all ages.
The ALAN Review John Noell Moore
Fall 1995 Virginia Tech

The Burning Time by Carol Matas Historical/Witches
Delacorte Press, 1995. 113 pp. $15.95 ISBN: 0-385-32097-3
Set in France in the sixteenth century, The Burning Time is a book about the period when many women were accused of being witches and were executed as a result. Rose, the central character in the book, is a young woman whose mother stands accused. With Rose's father dead and her two brothers away on business, Rose must take responsibility for her mother's life as well as her own. The story is written in first person from Rose's perspective. She must weigh the wishes of her mother against her own feelings about being left on her own. Readers will be able to compare the fear of the villagers and their seeming indifference to Rose and her mother's plight to other horrible events in history. Graphic accounts of torture and sexual references make this well-written book a choice for mature readers.
The ALAN Review Connie Russell
Fall 1995 Eau Claire Area School District

Sound the Jubilee by Sandra Forrester Historical/Slavery
Lodestar Books, 1995. 184 pp. $15.99 ISBN: 0-525-67468-1
Eleven-year-old Maddie is a house slave in 1861 when this story begins. Set during the years of the Civil War, this book first portrays the harsh realities of slavery and then explores the adjustments and joys of freedom when Maddie's family joins a colony of former slaves who live on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. An issue that comes through powerfully is the value of literacy, as Maddie first risks learning to read and write on the plantation and later helps teach the children of Roanoke Colony.
Sound the Jubilee is most appropriate for middle-school students, or even good readers a bit younger. While it doesn't have a "happy" ending (the colony is disbanded and Maddie's father dies a soldier's death), the occurrences in the story and the spirit of Maddie and her family make this a highly appealing book for independent or group reading, or for reading aloud to a class.
The ALAN Review Bonnie O. Ericson
Fall 1995 California State University, Northridge

Clip and File Reviews of New Fiction Hardbacks
Gary M. Salvner and Virginia R. Monseau, editors

Alexander, Lloyd
The Arkadians
Reviewed by Elizabeth Poe
Associate Professor of English
Radford University
Radford, Virginia

Price, Susan
Ghost Dance
Reviewed by Lisa A. Wroble
Plymouth, Michigan

Goldman, E.M.
The Night Room
Reviewed by Charles R. Duke
Dean, Reich College of Education
Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina

Bennett, William J. ed.
The Book of VIRTUES for Young People: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories
Reviewed by Mike Angelotti
Professor of English Education
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma

The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander Fantasy/Greek Mythology/Humor
Dutton, 1995. 272 pp. $15.99 ISBN: 0-525-45415-2
The Kingdom of Arkadia is deeply steeped in problems: slow-witted King Bromios is puppet to corrupt soothsayers; bean-counter Lucian requires a new occupation; poet-turned-talking-jackass Fronto wants a retransformation; oracle Joy-in-the-Dance seeks guidance; scapegoat Op needs somewhere to belong; Shipmaster Oudeis owes The Lady of Wild Things a favor; and goat-boy Catch-a-Tick craves heroic adventure. These travelers band together to overcome personal and political problems, and, in the process, learn much about Arkadian lore.
Stories abound in this delightful fantasy adventure, many of which are not actual retellings of Greek myths, but rather fictional pretellings , suggesting the embellishment-gathering nature of oral tradition. Readers needn't be familiar with Greek mythology to partake of the wit and wisdom of these winsome Arkadians, but it's a lot of fun to identify the classical stories that are playfully woven into this engaging epic.
The ALAN Review Elizabeth Poe
Fall 1995 Radford University

Ghost Dance by Susan Price Historical/Fantasy
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994. 217 pp. $16.00 ISBN: 0-374-32537-5
The Czar Gorzni sends trappers and loggers into the Northlands, destroying the livelihood of the Lapp people. The shaman refuses to help, saying change cannot be stopped. Shingebiss, the shaman's apprentice, decides the Czar himself must change even if she must make him do so. The shaman warns Shingebiss, saying the Czar "has a mind like broken glass, reflecting many things and all of them crookedly" (p. 21). When the shaman dies, Shingebiss sets off for the Czar's palace, intent on stopping the destruction of the Northlands.
Told in the fashion of a folktale, this book has rich description of the land and the conditions in the crowded city. To gain the power that she needs to stop the Czar, Shingebiss must become a full shaman, guiding herself on this journey. The environment, the beliefs of the Lapp people, as well as the multitude of social wrongs found in the Czar's palace and city are possible class-discussion topics.
The ALAN Review Lisa A. Wroble
Fall 1995 Plymouth, Michigan

The Night Room by E.M. Goldman Science Fiction
Viking, 1995. 216 pp. $14.99 ISBN: 0-670-858838-2
This novel might be the next best thing to taking a trip to the holodeck on the starship Enterprise . Selected to be subjects in an experimental study called Argus, seven high-school students peek into their futures by way of their tenth class reunion. Argus is the brainchild of Dr. Halstrom, a university faculty member who believes she can devise a computer program that will allow people to select the kind of life they might like to lead. As the experiment unfolds, readers come to realize, as do the characters, that people's lives are not always what they seem and that what we wish for may not always turn out to be what we want.
Goldman provides just enough scientific information to keep the plot credible while also raising some key questions about the impact of science on human behavior. In light of current discussions about virtual reality and related issues, this novel could be used in a computer science class or a science fiction unit.
The ALAN Review Charles R. Duke
Fall 1995 Appalachian State University

The Book of VIRTUES for Young People: A Treasury Moral Education
of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett, ed. ISBN: 0-382-24923-2
Silver Burdett, 1996. 384 pp. $30.00
The full title tells it all -- The Book of VIRTUES for Young People: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories , edited with commentary by William J. Bennett. Rewritten and adapted stories and poems are drawn from the ages and focus on ten virtues, including self-discipline, compassion, work, honesty, and faith. According to the introduction, the book will help the reader find the answers to three questions: "What are virtues? Why do you need them? How do you get them?" The book includes Aesop's fables, Bible stories, myths, other stories, and poems. With stories centered on African-American, Native American, and other ethnic and cultural experiences, there is a clear attempt to address the diversity of American youth. Content also appears to have been written and selected to provide access at the middle-school reading level. All in all, there are some stories that could be of interest to young people and provide a point of departure for values clarification and personal writing.
The ALAN Review Mike Angelotti
Fall 1995 The University of Oklahoma