Friday, August 7, 2015

King's Courage by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon - NO

Deutsch, Stacia and Rhody Cohon  King's Courage (Blast to the Past, book 4)  Illustrated by David Wenzel. 106 pgs. 2006; paperback edition 2014. Aladdin. $5.99. Content: G

Using a time-travel computer and instructions from their history teacher, Mr. Caruthers, twins Jacob and Zachary and their friends Abigail and Roberto (called Bo) are just about to jump back to 1965 when they are asked to babysit the twins' little brother Gabe. Abigail agrees to stay in the present with Gabe, but Gabe sneaks the gadget away from his brother and accidentally opens the time-travel hole. The whole gang ends up in Selma on the day of the second attempt of the voting-rights march to Montgomery. They now have a duel mission: the original mission to persuade Martin Luther King Jr. to not give up on his dream, and now also to find and keep Gabe save.

I can accept the existence of a time-travel computer, and even a history teacher who has invented this machine and sends young students to the past by themselves, but I found the premise that chatty third graders could offer enough encouragement to a dispirited leader to keep history on course hard to believe. Also, throughout the book, the facts from the featured historical period are mostly given through lectures instead of being integrated into the action, which makes the narrative a bit dry. Finally, any discussion about the advancement of blacks in American politics is outdated today if it fails to mention President Obama. The text of this reprinted edition should have been modified to include some very relevant recent events. I definitely wouldn't spend money on this one, and am not sure if I should even add a donated copy.

EL - NO. Reviewed by P.K. Foster, teacher-librarian

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