Thursday, March 29, 2007

Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial by Ronald Kidd

As a person interested in history, I was enthralled with this book. I guess I had heard of the Scopes Trial in some high school history class, but I didn't really know anything about it. In Monkey Town, Ronald Kidd has managed to tell a good story while at the same time giving detailed and accurate descriptions of the summer of the Scopes Trial. Frances is a 15-year-old girl, and the daughter of one of the people who made the whole trial happen. She has a crush on her teacher, Johnny Scopes, and great admiration for her father, the head of the school board and owner of the local drug store. She has a front-row seat (literally) for the trial and all the action behind the scenes that caused it to happen in the first place. I was aware the whole time I was reading this book that the author was meticulously providing factual historical background, including actual transcripts from the trial, but that never made me lose interest. Sort of like Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac, it's definitely a vehicle for learning about history, but fortunately it's well done. Recommended for middle school students on up to adults.

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