Tornado. O.

INFO: Byars, Betsy. Tornado. O. 1996.

DESC: Classic later-period Betsy Byars! This charming tale is a must for any who are fans of the “boy-and-dog” genre. Interestingly, like Bunnicula, it also features a fairly complex frame narrative structure which keeps readers on their toes, and can be the source of many good orienting conversations about which story we are “inside” of at each moment. The story begins with a boy and his family gathered into their storm cellar with Pete, their farmhand, as a twister descends on their farmstead. Our narrator’s father, “Link” Lincoln, is trapped outside in his fields as the tornado hits. To calm everyone’s nerves, Pete begins to tell a series of interwoven stories about his time on his own farm down tornado alley – and the time he found a dog, doghouse and all, plopped down in his yard by a twister! The saga of Pete and “Tornado” that ensues is by turns funny, witty, original, and heartbreaking. This is an unforgettable and highly engaging story full of both enduring human themes and strong regional flair – and it will have even stronger resonance as students turn their eyes to the aftermath of the tragedies in Oklahoma this year.

TAGS: tornados, storms, farmlands, rural, pets, dogs, boy and dog stories, historical fiction, folktales, tall tales, storytelling, complex narrative, frame narrative, families, farming, farms, Oklahoma, O, fiction, chapter, humor

Advertisements

Shiloh. R.

INFO: Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Shiloh. R. 1991.

DESC: This heart-wrenching story is a hard-hitting tale of a young boy named Marty who falls in love with an abused, neglected beagle – who just so happens to belong to Judd Travers. It’s a story of compassion, bravery, and, ultimately, standing up for what you believe in, even if nobody else does. More than that, it’s an evocative and complex portrait of life in an impoverished mountain town in West Virginia, and the ties that hold the community together. Perfect for 3rd graders edging up into deeper and more mature reading material – and for anyone with a heart for animals! Written in West Virginia dialect — or the author’s approximation thereof.

TAGS: family, west virginia, dogs, animal abuse, bravery, courage, poverty, rural living, mountains, nature, determination, compassion, animal welfare, pets, chapter, fiction, R