Especially Heroes

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Ladwig, Tim 2003 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 32 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Ladwig, Tim (Illustrated by) Grand Rapids, MI 2003 Hard cover First edition. 1st printing. New in new dust jacket. Brand new, beautifully illustrated big book. Negligible wear, ... no marks, giftable. Pictorial paper over boards. 32 p. 31 cm. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1962, this sensitive drama probes the concept of heroism from several points of view, including a Christian one. A class discussion about soldiers, including students' relatives who died in WWII, dovetails with a religious school lesson about martyrdom, inspiring the fourth-grade narrator to wonder if she values anything so much that she would risk her life for it. That night a pack of young white men terrorize her beloved African-American neighbor, Mrs. Hall, and, much to the girl's surprise, her soft-spoken father-so gentle that he "put jars over bugs and took them outside"-confronts the thugs with a baseball bat. The father's complexity helps make the case that heroism has little to do with bravado or mythic, superhuman personalities; it is ordinary people staying true to their ideals. Kroll (Girl, You're Amazing) conveys this message with skill and restraint that falters only with Mrs. Hall's distracting, exaggerated dialect ("Your mama might be needin' something scrumptious, 'specially now with tryin' to keep up her energy and her milk for that littlest angel-baby"). Ladwig's (When Daddy Prays) realistic paintings use light and dramatic perspectives to suggest the father's strength of character. However, he narrows the audience by emphasizing a Christian perspective: when the girl dreams of "soldiers and martyrs," foremost in his grouping is a Crusader. Ages 8-up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature
Basing her story on a 1962 childhood memory, the author's unnamed narrator tells of the year when she considered heroes. Two things started her thinking: some children had parents who fought or were nurses in World War II and, says the teacher, they were heroes. In church classes, which "all the kids from Ebenezer Elemetary" attended, she thinks about martyrs. "Do you love anything so much that you would die for it?" asks the teacher nun. When she gets home, her father expresses his distress that a note from the teacher says she has been talking again in class. The girl also goes to Mrs. Hall, an African-American widow who lets children come and have cocoa and cookies. Her small brother Donald asks the good-natured widow if he will turn brown like her from drinking cocoa, and later gets in trouble for repeating "nigger," a word someone at school called Mrs. Hall. Later in the night, the family receives a call from "Jerry" and the father sets off with a baseball bat to drive away the punks who have broken windows in Mrs. Hall's house. Then, she considers her father a hero, maybe even a martyr. The last realistic watercolor painting shows her dreaming about five of her heroes and martyrs. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hall's speech is rendered with dropped n's, rural expressions such as "tuckered out," and ungrammatical constructions. The artwork captures some period-clothing details but one of the racist high school-looking boys has a contemporary-looking tattoo. The story makes a leaden connection between common decent acts and the kind of people who make them and sometimes become heroes. It also raises conversations about sacrifice, taking risks, and doing what's right, but at the expense of atight, well-focused story. Was her father prepared to die for his protection of Mrs. Hall? Who are those people in the girls' dreams? What's the truth behind this story?—As only the jacket notes, the author's personal experience. Lose that and you lose the information. 2003, Eerdmans,
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-In 1962, after discussing heroes and martyrs in school, a fourth grader experiences heroism firsthand. Neighborly Mrs. Hall, an African American, invites Ginny, her sister, and their brother to her house for snacks and homework help because their mother is home resting with their new baby brother. While sipping cocoa, Donald, a kindergartner, asks Mrs. Hall, "If I drink a lot of this, will I turn brown like you?" She laughs and gently explains how "God fashions folks in different colors." At home, the boy asks if Mrs. Hall is "a nigger" and gets his mouth washed with soap to take away "that filthy word." After dinner, the woman telephones to ask for help because a gang of young men is taunting her. Ginny's father and two other neighbors stand up to the racists and call the police. This story is based on true incidents that had an important impact on Kroll in the turbulent 1960s. Appearing opposite each page of text, Ladwig's large, realistic paintings are dramatic in their use of light and shadow, and they are visually satisfying. This is an excellent story for these troubled times, to help children understand the importance of standing up for one's beliefs, ideals, and freedom.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802852212
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/15/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 11.98 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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