Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mock Printz:Monkey Town by Ronald Kidd

Title: Monkey Town
Author: Ronald Kidd
ISBN: 1-4169-0572-3
Starred Reviews: School Library Journal
Review: I picked up this book since it is so timely. As it turns out, the main character, a teenage girl named Frances Robinson is loosely based on a person Ronald Kidd actually met. Frances has a crush on her teacher, Scopes and lives across from the courthouse where the trial takes place. The girl and her father become intimately involved in the trial because her Dad is the school board chairman and instigates the case as a publicity trial. As the trial takes on a life of its own, it forces Frances to question her religious and moral values as well as her relationship with her Dad. The town becomes a laughing stock of the intellectual world but affords Frances to expand her own world as she meets H.L. Mencken, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan. But the one individual who is irrevocably changed is the teacher, Scopes. Because of Frances' crush, she sees his perspective and life will never be the same for her or her family or the town. This book has some meat on it and tries to show the complexity of the characters and the times. I enjoyed the book very much and intend to use it in the fall with my Mohter-Daughter Discussion Group. It could be one of my top ten for the Printz but I am not sure yet.
Reviewer: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

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