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The Resource Preacher's boy, Katherine Paterson

Preacher's boy, Katherine Paterson

Label
Preacher's boy
Title
Preacher's boy
Statement of responsibility
Katherine Paterson
Title variation
Preachers boy
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
In 1899, ten-year-old Robbie, son of a preacher in a small Vermont town, gets himself into all kinds of trouble when he decides to give up being Christian in order to make the most of his life before the end of the world
Storyline
Award
  • Jefferson Cup Award, 2000.
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 1999
Review
  • Books for Youth, Older Readers: /*STARRED REVIEW*/ Gr. 5-7. Paterson is arguably the premier author among children's book writers today, and Preacher's Boy is another in a long list of titles (but not so long as to dilute her talent) that shows why. In this story, she takes a serious philosophical topic--what God wants from us and what we want from God--and shapes its profundity with irony and wit. It is the turn of the twentieth century, and Robbie, son of a preacher, is tired of trying to please God. Moreover, although Robbie's father is kind and gentle, it's not that easy to do what he wants, either. So when a fire-and-brimstone minister suggests that the world may be ending soon, Robbie decides that whatever time is left will be more fun without God in the equation. Like Huckleberry Finn (of whom there are many overtones), Robbie is willing to take his chances with eternity for the opportunity to do what he wants. But before long, Robbie has put his mentally disabled brother in danger, almost choked another boy to death in a fury, and masterminded a harebrained kidnapping hoax that might result in a man's execution. At every turn, Paterson splendidly balances Robbie's moral choices with pure entertainment, especially as it twists the plot. And though there are a couple of stereotypical characters, including a dirty vagabond girl and her drunkard father, even they are elevated because Paterson writes about them with humor and compassion. As the public demands more books with moral issues at their core, here's one that envelops readers with its principled reflections, instead of pounding them over their heads. ((Reviewed August 1999)) -- Ilene Cooper
  • Gr 5-8-Paterson, so adept at capturing a sense of time and place, returns once again to mine the richness of small-town Vermont during the 19th century. Here, she reflects on the approach of the previous century as she follows the adventures of energetic, mischievous Robbie Hewitt, a preacher's son with a bit of a temper, from Decoration Day in May, 1899, to the eve of January 1, 1900. New ideas are circulating. Darwin's theory of evolution gets confused in Robbie's mind with atheism. When he decides that it is too hard to behave, that God is too hard to please, and that the world may end soon anyway, he declares himself an "apeist." Following a fight with his nemesis, he becomes involved with Violet, a poor homeless girl, and her alcoholic father, Zeb. While planning his own kidnapping for profit, he implicates Zeb, who is likely to hang for the crime. Robbie's own personal miracle from God, a ride in a motorcar, reaffirms him as a true believer. As in Jip (Dutton, 1996), Paterson tells a multilayered coming-of-age story of loyalty, courage, and the enduring values of family. With warmth, humor, and her powerful yet plain style, Paterson draws empathetic and memorable characters. Readers share the anticipation and the joy of Robbie and his father as they welcome the 20th century at the book's end.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
  • Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia; Jacob Have I Loved) captures the essence of an adolescent's fundamental questions of God and existence in this finely honed novel. As the year 1899 draws to a close, the people in Robbie's rural Vermont community anticipate the coming of the 20th century with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Some fear that the end is near. Others, like Robbie's father, a minister with progressive ideas, thinks "the world's at a sort of beginning." Robbie does not know what to believe. Recently, he has begun to question God and the validity of the Ten Commandments. As the son of a preacher, he is expected to exhibit exemplary behavior, but he cannot seem to turn the other cheek to those who make fun of his "simple-minded" brother. In a fit of anger, Robbie comes dangerously close to drowning a boy and sets off a chain of irreversible events; he must rely on his conscience to lead him toward redemption. Once again placing universal conflict in a historical context, Paterson gives a compassionate, absorbing rendering of an adolescent boy trying to break free from social and religious constraints. Besides delving into the mind of the young rebel, she successfully evokes the climate of the times, showing how the townspeople respond to modern inventions, discoveries and ideas. The story contains a moral, but the author remains nearly invisible as she guides her characters through crises, then leaves them to fend for themselves at the dawn of a new era. Ages 10-14. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
  • Paterson (Celia and the Sweet, Sweet Water, 1998, etc.) rings out the 20th century with this ruminative tale of a 10-year-old freethinker, set in a small Vermont town at the very end of the 19th century. Hearing a revivalist preacher's dark hints of impending doom, Robbie decides to become "a heathen, a Unitarian, or a Democrat, whichever was most fun," because he "ain't got the knack for holiness." As it turns out, he's not very good at sinning either, bending a few commandments by stealing food for a pair of vagrants, Violet and her abusive, alcoholic pa, Zeb, and feeling a stab of envy over the love his parents lavish on his simple-minded older brother, Elliot. He has a brush with serious evil, nearly drowning a rival who throws his clothes into a pond; the experience leaves him profoundly shocked at himself, and he ultimately earns redemption, in his own eyes, by saving Zeb from a charge of attempted murder. Despite some violence, the tone is generally light; if some situations are contrived, more thoughtful readers will look beyond them to the larger moral questions underlying Robbie's attitudes and choices. Talky, but nourishing for mind and spirit both. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1999)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
096621
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Paterson, Katherine
Dewey number
[Fic]
Index
no index present
Intended audience
860
Intended audience source
Lexile
LC call number
PZ7.P273
LC item number
Pr 1999
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 5
  • 8
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Family life
  • Fathers and sons
  • Christian life
  • Vermont
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
Preacher's boy, Katherine Paterson
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
168 p.
Isbn
9780395838976
Lccn
98050083
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780395838976
  • (OCoLC)40311548
Label
Preacher's boy, Katherine Paterson
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
168 p.
Isbn
9780395838976
Lccn
98050083
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780395838976
  • (OCoLC)40311548

Library Locations

    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
      148 Pylant Street, Senoia, GA, 30276, US
      33.297709 -84.561283

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