Monday, May 16, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Belle Prater's Boy

Belle Prater's Boy, a Newbery Honor book in 1997, is a timeless story, which, to me, means Ruth White wrote a classic - and one with strong appeal for both boys and girls (and adults).

The premise: Belle Prater mysteriously disappears. Most people believe she was murdered, but her son has other ideas. Belle's boy, Woodrow, moves in with his grandparents when his father starts drinking too much. When he meets and becomes best friends with his girl-cousin Gypsy, they teach one another about family and friendship and getting through hard times.

What keeps readers reading: Ruth White's believable and beautiful portrayal of a cross-gender friendship. Although Belle Prater's Boy is told through Gypsy's eyes, Woodrow is revealed in a marvelous manner, crossing that boundary of boy/girl reading. Woodrow is cross-eyed and wears funny clothes. Gypsy is popular and pretty. But both harbor sadness. Through their adventures together, sticking up for one another, and understanding each other in ways no one ever has before, we are led into 1950's Virginia. But 1950's Virginia disappears and timelessness appears through White's tale of confronting tragedy with a friend at your side.

Other regular MMGMers:
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Shannon Whitney Messenger at Ramblings of a Wanna Be Scribe
Ally Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy
Joanne Fritz at My Brain on Books
Myrna Foster at Night Writer
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Anita Laydon Miller at Middle Grade Blog
Michael Gilmartin at Middle Grade Mafioso


  1. I really enjoy these posts because it helps me to chose books I can read with my grandkids out loud together. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Oh, I adored this book (although the sequel wasn't as powerful). She has a new book coming out in June but it's totally different -- it's sci fi!

    Nice review, Barbara. And thanks for the linkage.

  3. Jeanette, I love knowing that!

    Joanne, I was a bit afraid of reading the sequel because of the reason you stated. This one was so powerful all by itself.

  4. I've never heard of this one. Thanks for the review!

  5. Like Myrna, I hadn't heard of this. Thanks for the review.

  6. This sounds like a marvelous story. Thanks for the great review. Your blog is beautiful.

  7. It's so worth your time!

    Michael G-G, thank you for your comments and the blog follow!

  8. Great pick, it was new to me too. I'll have to check it out.


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