|Most important thing : stories about sons, fathers, and grandfathers|
Seven heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny short stories exploring how boys seek acceptance, guidance, or just an older male to look up to.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 181418
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 68614
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/16)
Booklist (+) (02/15/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/16)
The Hornbook (00/03/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2016 *Starred Review* In this collection of seven heartfelt stories, the indefatigable Avi breathes new life into an old theme: the relationship between sons and fathers (and the occasional grandfather). Ranging in tone from somber (“Departed”) to sprightly (“Tighty-Whities or Boxers?”), the stories have in common a psychological acuity, the presence of inevitable change, and the grace of Avi’s simile-rich style. Interestingly, a number of the stories are notable for the emotional or physical absence of fathers, and often, when they are present, they are feckless (“Going Home”) or bullying (“Beat Up”). In arguably the strongest story, “Dream Catcher,” a boy with a distant relationship with his father is sent to visit the grandfather he has never met. As it happens, the taciturn grandfather is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from PTSD. As for the most amusing story, “The Amalfi Duo,” the grandfather in it suffers from a surfeit of self-confidence that is shaken when his grandson outperforms him. The book is prefaced with an intriguing question: “What’s the most important thing you can do for your son?” The answer, some readers will think, is offered not by a father but, instead, by a prospective stepfather. His answer: “Love him.” HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: It would take a full book just to list Avi’s accomplishments; librarians know it and will sense that this is one of the author’s more emotional works. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2016 In seven short stories, Avi explores bonds spoken and unspoken among sons, fathers, grandsons, and grandfathers. The collection opens with “Dream Catcher,” an examination of how the traumas of war can echo through a family, affecting each generation in a different way. Charlie finds his own version of courage but it’s one that contradicts his father’s in “Beat Up.” The dynamics between a grandson and his grandfather shift in “The Amalfi Duo,” and Ryan approaches his mother’s engagement pragmatically, requiring an interview and several references for the man who will be his stepfather in “Tighty-Whities or Boxers?” 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 offering a snapshot of an ongoing and shifting connection. KQG - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.