Gavilan: A Story of Hollywood During the McCarthy ERA

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This book is part of a series entitled "Scrapbooks of America" that attempts to personalize for young people the effects of certain events in our nation's history. This particular one zeros in on Hollywood and the blackballing of influential leaders of the motion picture industry, particularly writers and producers. This book tells the story is of a young boy's experience as the son of an actor who has been named a communist by an unknown accuser. The boy's mother, also an actor, has supplied names to the House Un-American Activities Committee to protect herself and is still working, while the father is un-employable and has left Los Angeles to return to his childhood home of Salinas, California to work at a drive-in movie. The parents are divorced. Unfortunately, the book is poorly designed. The cover is unattractive. The pink, blue and green page backgrounds are distracting, the bold print of certain words throughout the text is nonsensical—"outburst," "Communist" and "uproar." The actual story itself is second-rate; and if, as the cover information suggests, it is meant as a classroom tool, it will speak to youngsters as more of the attraction of a Hollywood life style than of a shameful period in the history of our country. 2004, Tradition Books/The Child's World, Ages 8 to 12.
— Eleanor Heldrich
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This series blends fact and fiction to describe moments in American history. Unfortunately, these titles are uneven. The books are attractive, full of archival black-and-white photographs with informative captions and sidebars throughout, but the first-person narratives are slight and dry. In Gavilan, seventh-grader Ben is ostracized when neighborhood kids learn that his father has been blacklisted. In Shaky Bones, 12-year-old Simon Brocade is growing up in a vibrant cultural atmosphere and aspires to be a poet, but is confronted with the accusation of plagiarism. In both titles, conversations are stilted and unfamiliar vocabulary is highlighted in a distracting manner (in bold and in a larger font) within the text. While the factual material is well presented, the books are unlikely to be read for pleasure. Each volume includes a brief history of the period, a time line, extension activities, and a few additional resources. A fine idea, but not well executed.-Rita Hunt Smith, Hershey Public Library, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591870418
  • Publisher: Child's World, Incorporated, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Series: Scrapbooks of America Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years

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