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From Barnes & NobleA Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Children's Book of 2002
The Barnes & Noble Review
Acclaimed author Joan Bauer, author of the Newbery Honor book Hope Was Here, gives us a heartfelt look at courage and pride through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, "the tallest seventh-grade boy in the history of Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School."
Tree, nicknamed for his towering six-foot, three-and-a-half-inch frame, is having a tough time finding reasons to "stand tall." Being one of the "nonathletic nobodies," unable to shoot a basket despite his height -- and with parents on less than friendly terms after their divorce -- Tree feels out of place, with his inner strength at a dim flicker. After his Vietnam vet grandpa has part of his leg amputated and he meets a sure-footed (and unpopular) girl at school, Tree begins to discover that his sizable his body holds a pretty big heart. Yet when a flood hits the town and his old dog, Bradley, has a stroke, Tree uses his remarkable gifts to learn that "everything's got a purpose, really -- you just have to look for it."
Using themes of purpose and inspiration that are familiar to her fans, Bauer brings readers a journey inward through the character of a boy whose awkward feelings shadow the true stuff inside. Tree, with a solid and compassionate demeanor, is instantly likable, and the strength he uses to block life's curve balls will resonate with young readers, especially boys. A powerful read with emotions and layers that come together like the branches of an oak, Stand Tall is another Joan Bauer winner that will keep readers thinking. Matt Warner