Monday, September 13, 2010

"When Zachary Beaver Came To Town" by Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt was thirteen when she saw the “Fattest boy in the World” at the Louisiana State Fair.  This memory gave her the idea for When Zachary Beaver Came To Town.  She writes about obesity, friendship and war through Toby’s experience, a thirteen year old boy in the small town of Antler, Texas.  When Zachary Beaver came to town as a sideshow, people stood in line to pay $2 to see him.  He was somewhere around 600 pounds!  He said he didn't mind people paying to see him because people would stare at him anyhow, he might as well get paid for it.

I liked reading how Toby’s feelings about Zachary changed from viewing him as an object, to judging him and disliking him, to actually becoming his friend.  Toby's best friend's brother was serving in the war in Vietnam and Toby was counting the days until his return.  Toby's mother went to follow her dream of becoming a country music singer and left.  Reading this coming of age book was a pleasure because there was not a lot of bad language in it and the characters were good kids.

This is a children’s book that I would recommend to tweeners.  Hopefully, by reading this book kids can become more empathetic of others.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it?

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