Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall - ESSENTIAL

Pearsall, Shelley The Seventh Most Important Thing, 273 pages.  Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books), 2015. $16.99.  Language:  (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content:  G; Violence: G.

One cold, gray November day, thirteen -year-old Arthur Owens picked up a brick and threw it at an old man’s head.  Arthur begins a journey of walking in another’s shoes when he is ordered by the court to assist “the junk man” in his endeavor.  He finds help where least expected from his no nonsense probation officer “Billie”, and “Squeak”, his ever-bullied classmate.  Arthur may live at a time when our country is in turmoil with civil rights and the assassination of a president, but for him it is simply time to discover his true self as struggles to find out what his most important things are. 

This is a story of redemption, friendship and coming of age.  I loved this book and these beautifully written characters.  James Hampton, known throughout the town as “the junk man”, is a character based on the true life American folk artist by the same name.  The seven most important things are items he uses to create his life’s masterpiece entitled “The Third Throne of Heaven”.  Arthur is wonderfully flawed and in pain.

EL, MS, - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Jennifer Miller Elementary School Librarian

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