I have three more Polacco books to tell you about tonight, I meant for there to be 4 but I grabbed one by a different author right beside my Polacco collection. I’ll read it tomorrow.
Just In Time, Abraham Lincoln takes two boys on a time traveling adventure to Antiem two days after the Morthern victory. This is where Gardner took his famous photos of President Lincoln and Hemeral McClellan.
The boys think the photographs of war are boring but both seem to think fighting in the battles would be awesome, comparing it to video games. The trip to the actual battlefield gives the boys a serious reality check. Seeing the dead rocks them to the core. President Lincoln comforts them–he was a great father, after all. The boys end up comforting him, assuring him that the Union will win and the country will come together.
Polacco’s artwork shows the gruesome aftermath of the battle without being too bloody or scary. It’s not a book for first or second graders but middle grade students will get a lot out of it.
In Thank You, Mr. Falker, Polacco shared the story of the teacher who helped her overcome her reading disability. The story continues in The Junkyard Wonders. Polacco chooses to go to school in Michigan where the kids won’t know about her reading troubles, but she is placed in a classroom called the junkyard with other kids with special needs.
The children are blessed with an amazing teacher who refuses to see them as anything but amazing; she believes in them unconditionally. Sadness at the loss of a friend inspires the kids to show the whole school how big of wonders they are.
This story was beautiful, I’m so glad Polacco has chosen to share these sometimes painful stories from her past. Any child would be inspired by them.
Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair was my favorite of the night, it won’t take you long to figure out why.
Eli has an odd aunt who hasn’t gotten out of bed in 50 years! She is weirder still because she doesn’t own a T.V. like the rest of the townspeople. Eli loves to visit her and hear her stories though, and eventually Aunt Chip finds out that Eli can’t read. No one in town reads anymore, they are addicted to their T.V.s! Books are used to fix potholes, patch leaky roofs and rebuild walls. Aunt Chip teaches Eli to read and then all the children in town. Of course this leads to trouble with the adults who aren’t as ready to give up the boob tube. I don’t want to give away this playful story, but if the town librarian warns you that tearing down the library to build a television tower will have consequences, you ought to listen.
(Aunt Chip is a librarian with a houseful of cats and a nephew named Eli. I have 3 cats and a nephew named Eli…)