Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Madman of Piney Woods review
Book talk: Benji and Red don't know each other. Benji wants to be a star reporter while Red has his sights set on being a scientist. Benji is in an ongoing war with his younger siblings involving a series of over-the-top pranks while Red is an only child who has to watch out for his grandmother's wrath. They have very little in common, but soon the woods that separates their two towns will bring them together. Adults warn children not to stray in Piney Woods, they say that a madman lives there. Both Benji and Red grew up hearing fantastic stories about the madman, but when they finally encounter him and learn the truth, it tests their strength in ways they never expected.
Rave: Christopher Paul Curtis has a special knack for keeping me in stitches laughing for a whole book and then hitting me with a punch to the gut in the climax that leaves me a sobbing wreck. All the characters are so well drawn. They are flawed but they come together in such a moving way. Curtis tackles multiple issues from slavery to alcoholism to abuse but the novel is still uplifting and at points downright hilarious. I don't know how he does it.
Every book its reader: I'd give this to students looking for a funny book, historical fiction, or a touching book about family and friendship. 4th grade and up.
Topics and Trends: diverse fiction, Canada, slavery, the Civil War, the Irish Potato Famine, journalism, abuse
Christopher Paul Curtis has his own site
You can find a discussion guide on the publisher's website
Source: ebook from public library
The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis: buy it or check it out today!