|Seventh most important thing|
Author: Pearsall, Shelley
In 1963, thirteen-year-old Arthur is sentenced to community service helping the neighborhood Junk Man after he throws a brick at the old man's head in a moment of rage, but the junk he collects might be more important than he suspects. Inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 176203
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 66866
Common Core Standards
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/01/15)
School Library Journal (+) (07/01/15)
Booklist (+) (08/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/11/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2015 Gr 4–7—A middle school student learns the meaning of redemption in this excellent coming-of-age story. For the rest of the country, it was the year President Kennedy was assassinated. For Arthur Owens, it would always be the year his Dad died. Arthur is struggling to adapt. When he sees his Dad's hat being worn by the neighborhood "Junk Man," it is just too much. Arthur isn't a bad kid, but he picks up that brick and throws it just the same. The judge pronounces a "highly unconventional sentence." At the behest of the victim James Hampton, the "Junk Man," Arthur must spend every weekend of his community service helping to complete Hampton's artistic masterpiece. Inspired by real life artist James Hampton's life and work, "The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly," the plot avoids overt religious tones and sticks with the exploration of friendship, love, and life's most important lessons. From the "Junk Man's" neighbor, Groovy Jim, to no-nonsense Probation Officer Billie to Arthur's new best pal Squeak, and even his family, Pearsall has struck just the right tone by imbuing her well-rounded, interesting characters with authentic voices and pacing the action perfectly. Give this to fans of Wendy Mass's Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (Little, Brown, 2006) and Gennifer Choldenko's Al Capone Does My Shirts (Penguin, 2004). Reluctant readers may be intimidated by the page count, but a booktalk or read-aloud with this title should change their minds. VERDICT A recommended purchase for all libraries.—Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2015 *Starred Review* Pearsall’s latest historical novel, set around the time of JFK’s assassination, shifts its focus away from the familiar topics, instead focusing inward on the main character’s redemption. When Arthur T. Owens hurls a brick at the local trash picker, James Hampton, whom he spies wearing his recently deceased father’s hat, he receives a most unusual sentence: 120 hours of community service with the Junk Man himself. Toting Hampton’s list of the seven most important things, Arthur reluctantly scavenges, unsure of the purpose of wood, lightbulbs, coffee cans, foil, mirrors, glass bottles, and cardboard, until he discovers what James does with them. In the garage is the Junk Man’s shiny, thronelike masterpiece, which he calls The Throne of the Third Heaven. Readers will be moved by Arthur’s growth, as he forms an attachment to the man to whom he initially gave so little thought, as well as by his dedication to saving the folk artist’s prized work after his death. Though fictionalized, Pearsall shines a light on Hampton, an amazing, lesser-known artist whose pieces are housed in the Smithsonian Museum, with an author’s note detailing the true story. A moving exploration of how there is often so much more than meets the eye. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.