Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Mystery of the Woods by Mary Stolz

Rules are made to be broken? Well, not according to Grandfather Fanshaw. Young Will, his grandson, finds living by the daily rules and being obedient to the clock makes life somewhat repetitive and dull. This well meaning old gentleman's routines which include oatmeal for breakfast every morning and bedtime strictly at eight, would drive anyone out of their minds. 

All day long the clock directed activities in the house. The clock was a grandfather too, so Will figured he had two grandfathers, both of them telling him what to do.

Grandfather Fanshaw especially worries about the woods that surround his house and it is this irrational fear in some part drives his crazy rule-making ways. Suddenly one evening something really refreshing happens in their lives, a "mewowing" cat enters into their lives and the old bloke has to start thinking about doing somethings differently. Now truthfully this book, whilst containing some small philosophies about the drawbacks of being too rigid, probably wouldn't hold too many kids' attentions these days. I'll run it by some students in my class and see what they have to say about it. I did actually enjoy the illustrations by Polish artist Uri Shulevitz who is now  well known for his own stories, his award winning Snow, and his most recent Dusk.

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