Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Blackwater Ben by William Durbin

I will list the good qualities of this book first. It is set in Minnesota, around the year 1900, and the setting is a logging camp in the northern part of the state. Obviously the author did a lot of research on that era in history and filled the book with many details, including a lot of slang used by the loggers. I believe the descriptions of the camps and the jobs that were done are probably quite accurate. So I did learn something about that time in history. That's the good part. The bad part is that the book has no plot, and to me it seemed like an excuse to string together some charming, funny episodes in the lives of loggers. But that wasn't enough to make a good book for me. I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't think it was a good enough book to make the Maud Hart Lovelace booklist, even though it was set in our state. I will be curious to see how kids respond to it this year since many of them will be reading it. Maybe they will prove me wrong.

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