Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Slog's Dad by David Almond

A short story merges with artwork and morphs into a book that our library files in with the tweens.

The story is uplifting and disturbing. The artwork is intriguing and surreal. The story... also a bit surreal.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it other than that I would have marketed it to an older audience. Maybe the briefness of the text made it seem more of a tween story.

It is quite dense and not, I think, a solo-venture for this age group.

Slog’s an Irish lad whose Dad contracts a leg infection which calls for the leg to be chopped off bit by bit until he is overcome and dies.

The uplifting part is that Slog’s family is close, his father saintly. He sings Catholic hymns, his wife nurses him with devotion to the end, and theyalways maintain his gracious love of family. Heart-breaking and beautiful at the same time.

The father comes back after death to visit the emotionally distraught Slog…in transfigured form. He’s got the glorified body he hoped for (but that only Jesus has so far shown humanity). Slog is sure this is his father, and is comforted by touching this newly-glorified body, but Slog’s mate remains a doubting Thomas. His father (presumably) eventually returns (presumably) to heaven… and the whole experience leaves… as I said.. a rather surreal effect behind.

The art-work can be bit bizarre. It had a lot to express about processing emotions; I'm no art-critic. As I said, it's a look-before-you-leap kind of book.

There is a brief description of a butcher’s shop with a scorched pig’s head and bucket of blood… no doubt a fitting image of death in a book about death: take note for tweens.



mark,  April 5, 2011 at 10:36 AM  

I recently read a book about tween girls written for fathers. It's called What Happened to my Little Girl? and offers advice for dads on everything ranging from physical changes and roller coaster emotions to body image issues and boys. I would highly recommend it. Here is the Amazon link if you're interested:

Tween Lit Crit April 5, 2011 at 6:50 PM  

Thanks for the recommendation. I will check it out. I usually like recommendations; this one sounds promising...

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