The Most Important Thing: Stories about Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers
Author : Avi
Publisher : Candlewick (April 26, 2016)
Genre : Literature & Fiction
One of the most beloved writers of our time presents seven short stories exploring the vital ties between fathers and sons.
Luke sees the ghost of his father but can’t figure out what Dad wants him to do. Paul takes a camping trip with the grandfather he’s just met and discovers what lies behind the man’s erratic behavior. Ryan has some surprising questions when he interviews his prospective stepfather for the job. In a compellingly honest collection of stories, multiple-award-winning author Avi introduces seven boys — boys with fathers at home and boys whose fathers have left, boys who spend most of their time with their grandfathers and boys who would rather spend time with anyone but the men in their lives. By turns heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny, the stories show us boys seeking acceptance, guidance, or just someone to look up to. Each one shines a different light on the question “What is the most important thing a father can do for his son?”
From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-In a collection of seven short stories, Avi brings to life the complicated relationships between fathers and sons, grandfathers and grandsons, and stepfathers and stepsons and explores those sons without a father figure at all. In one tale, a teenager is shipped off for a week with a grandfather he never met and who never speaks to his own son, only to find understanding and a new, albeit complicated, relationship. In another, a son arrives at his father’s for the weekend only to discover that he has gained a new stepmother since his last visit. In a different story, a boy interviews his mother’s boyfriend for the position of stepfather. Another selection highlights the complicated relationship between a son who struggles to connect with his father, whose interests are much different than his own. Avi also tackles the impact that the loss of a father can have on his young son, the emptiness that a boy who has never known his father feels, and a grandfather who lives with his son’s family. The son or grandson in each entry is either a young teen or a boy on the edge of his teenage years, which adds to the poignancy and emotional ties. Together, these offerings weave a picture of the relationships that can develop between teenage boys and their fathers and grandfathers-or the lack thereof. The pieces could be read separately in a classroom setting. Though short stories can be a hard sell in a library setting, readers who take a chance on this collection will be rewarded. VERDICT Purchase where short story collections or realistic fiction featuring male characters is needed.-Carli Worthman, Carmel Middle School, Carmel, IN α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
—Booklist (starred review)Avi’s septuplet of stories suggests that the best thing you can do for your son might just be to hope you’ve somehow given him the tools to evolve into an adult who will love and understand you on the other side. Though this is tuned to the XY frequency, don’t discount it as a book for daughters who value such beautiful prose as “Now, snow drifting down, slowly, steadily, each flake the ghost of a leaf.” What Oedipus didn’t know about the intricacies of father/son kinship could fill a book—and has.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Avi’s deft incorporation of humor, heartache, and the occasional touch of the supernatural will draw readers in as they ponder how family ties bind in both positive and negative ways.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Seven short stories, some written in first person, some in third, offer glimpses into the lives of seven middle-school boys as they navigate complicated relationships with fathers and grandfathers…”What is the most important thing a father can do for his son?” The stories don’t directly answer the question, but they do show the consequences of a father’s absence, either physically or emotionally, and the varied ways boys find to compensate for the loss. “Be there,” the stories seem to say to fathers and grandfathers.
—The Horn Book
Together, these offerings weave a picture of the relationships that can develop between teenage boys and their fathers and grandfathers—or the lack thereof…readers who take a chance on this collection will be rewarded.
—School Library Journal
Avi offers a multifaceted view of the way boys and men relate to each other, painting neither a perfectly rosy nor dreadfully bleak picture, and he gives space for each character’s personality, making it clear that the relationships are weighted both with history and the boys’ and men’s temperaments. Few of the stories offer complete resolution, instead of- fering a snapshot of an ongoing and shifting connection.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Langue : English
File size : 1 Mo
Format : EPUB