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Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Young Adventurer

young adve

Another Horatio Alger book read. I’m catching up on my Good Reads 2020 Reading Challenge deficit.

In Alger’s The Young Adventurer, teenage Ben’s a new orphan at 14. His mother died when he was young and now his father’s just died. The $400 he inherited won’t last forever and there aren’t many opportunities in his hometown so though his uncle would like him to stay with him, Ben sets off to New York to make some money. He plans to earn enough to get passage to California where he can make a fortune mining gold.

Like a lot of Alger’s heroes, Ben encounters some swindlers, and luckily manages to avoid them with his funds in tact. Then he lucks out and meets and heiress in distress who asks him to accompany her to California and pays him to locate her fiancé. The adventure continues.

While the story offers a likable hero and plenty of villains, I wasn’t as enthralled as usual. The Young Adventurer is dated in its treatment of a Chinese character. The language of the era came off the way old Charlie Chan stereotypes do. Alger isn’t on the side of the bigots and those bigots probably were presented authentically, but I couldn’t stomach those chapters even though King Si, the Chinese miner, ends up doing well. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend this book to kids. Now maybe they should read about how people people discriminated and hurt others as that is the real history, but I’d find another book to recommend.

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2020 in American Lit, Children's Lit, fiction

 

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Cash Boy

frank-fowler-the-cash-boy

To catch up on my Good Reads reading challenge, I figured an Horatio Alger book was just the ticket. I got Frank Fowler: Cash Boy in a couple days. Frank Fowler, an orphan decides to go to the big city to get a job. He leaves his step-sister, who he thought was his biological sister. On her deathbed his mother admitted that Frank was adopted, that he was adopted under mysterious circumstances. Such is the storyline of a Horatio Alger book. Frank’s pal’s family agrees to take in his sister to keep her from the Poor House.

Though he comes across the swindlers common in these books, it’s not till Frank is hired to read to a wealthy man each evening that he meets his nemeses, the housekeeper and the man’s nephew. They fear Frank will worm his way into the old man’s heart. They plot to get Frank out of the house so that they can get the lion’s share of the old man’s will.

Although Alger’s books follow a formula, I don’t tire of his spunky, honest, courageous boys living in tough times when there were many children who had to take on adult responsibilities. It’s a quick, fun read.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2020 in book review, Children's Lit, fiction

 

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Tricking the Tallyman

Here’s a charming story about the Census long ago. The illustrations are cute as is the story about a village full of people who don’t understand why they’re being counted so they try to fool the poor Census Taker.

If you need to finish your census call 844-330-2020 or go to 2020census.gov

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2020 in Children's Lit, fiction

 

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The Complete Big Nate #4

Nate Great 4

I have fallen behind in my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge so I was looking for a quick read. When I worked at the small library in my district we helped with youth and adult books and I saw that Nate the Great books were popular. I thought I’d get one to see what the fuss was about.

I accidentally got the The Complete Big Nate #4 ebook and it turned out to be 370 pages. Even though it’s a comic book, 370 pages were more than I bargained for. I did make it through.

Nate is a mischievous boy, who reminded me of Dennis the Menace, and the books show him aggravating his older sister, exasperating his teachers, and annoying the object of his affections, Jenny. Nate’s cute and rambunctious. Yet, I soon tired of the episodes and thought some of the jokes were aimed more at middle aged men, than younger audiences. I see the prime audience as boys in 3rd – 5th grades so the jokes about the divorced dad going to his high school reunion or putting on weight didn’t seem like they’d make kids laugh.

The drawings were cute and Nate and his friends were likable, while not unique. I feel if you read one Nate the Great, by Lincoln Peirce you’ve read them all.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2020 in Children's Lit, fiction

 

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