Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Curse of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker –ADVISABLE

Ylvisaker, Anne The Curse of the Buttons 227 pgs. Candlewick, 2014. $15.99 Content: Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G Violence: G
All the men of Ike’s family have gone off to war, the civil war, and left him behind with the women. He doesn’t feel that 11 years old is too young, and wants to follow them, to be an adventurer like this Uncle Palmer. But first he needs a map, then the compass that his best friend Albirdie has, and maybe some company with a boat. But things go amiss and he finds himself aiding the civil war in a way that is both unexpected and very dangerous.
Believe me, as an educator I wanted to like this book, after all it has everything going for it. For starters its a more realistic view of what a typical youngster would experience during that time period; being left behind, not really grasping the horror of it, and not understanding their role. I felt like the book was overly long, the writing was confusing at times, and I am not sure that the main character ever really “got” anything. Even when he helps out the war effort, I don’t think he understood his actions. This book would be ok for a teacher read aloud, to help tease out the things the main character is missing (like why his mama would be laying down with a cold compress all the time after the men leave), and to discuss implications and historical elements. This book is apparently part of a series on the Button family, so maybe there are threads I didn’t comprehend, since the cover nor title pages allude to that.
EL –OPTIONAL  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.

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