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THE MUD HOLE

Author: Arthur Brood

Illustrator: Lindsey Bergsma

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Publisher: Class Act Productions., ©2007

Material: hard cover

Summary: It's summer vacation and 10-year-old Henry Morrison and Robert, his 8-year-old brother, are looking for fun. This is the summer of 1912, and even though automobiles were becoming more popular, people weren't very good drivers, and roads were not yet ready for lots of cars. With their dad's permission, the boys start a business to help stranded drivers. It was a great business, except that the boys deceived their customers, their parents, and their neighbors. How can they make restitution and regain the respect of their community? Learn about classic cars, automobile facts, and life's choices in this historical fiction novel for boys 8 and up.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, early reader, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 13

Interest Level: 8 to 13

Reading Level: 4.8

Age of Child: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is really a “twofer." It is, first and foremost, a believable and and enjoyable adventure story of two brothers and their summertime escapades. It is also the story of how the automobile industry became such a success and changed how Americans worked and played. The book is a fun read; educational; and accurately and tastefully illustrated.

Pros: Parents will be happy to know their car-crazed kids are reading a wholesome and enjoyable teen adventure novel.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. First and foremost, this book is an enjoyable adventure story. Second, there are at least 20 vignettes that explain the challenges confronting automakers as they designed and built automobiles. Last but not least, the illustrator provided magnificent renditions of the Vintage cars that today’s reader will greatly appreciate.

If You Liked This Book, Try: T; AN AUTO-BIOGRAPHY   I'LL FLY MY OWN PLANE   GRANDPA'S BRIDGE: ABOUT A BOY, HIS GRANDPA AND THE BUILDING OF A BRIDGE

Educational Themes: This is great primer for learning the history of the automobile. The author complements the narrative with vignettes describing the complexity involved in manufacturing automobiles, and the illustrator provided crisp and accurate renderings of vintage cars that will take a collector’s breath away. Visit a car museum or go online to learn more. In addition to all the factual information, the author has woven a great story about choices and consequences, too.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.8

Literary Categories: Fiction - transportation, cars, US history, historical fiction

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2008

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