Title: Homer Price
Author: Robert McCloskey
Major Themes: Small Town, Tall Tales
Synopsis: A delightful, humorous set of tall tales about a fairly typical small-town boy in the 1940’s.
Several months ago, I was going through Instagram stories, and I came across some by Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival. She was spending the day in Ohio, I believe, and had taken a chance to visit a private Robert McCloskey museum. She posted a picture of a donut-making machine and said it came from Homer Price. “Wait,” I thought, “I haven’t read that book yet!” Well, guess what…just a few days later, I was visiting some friends, and lo and behold, they had the very book on their kitchen counter! I asked to borrow it when they had finished, and soon afterward, we had a lot of fun as a family reading the book together.
Homer Price is your typical small-town-American boy. He tends to be pretty clever with his hands, and has a good head on his shoulders, so he gets through most scrapes…but nothing that extraordinary happens in his life. He’s interested in how radios work, reading comic books with his best friend, and spending time in his uncle’s lunchroom—but all of that is pretty ordinary, right? Well…until the day he gets to see a real, live radio broadcast in his sleepy hometown, and suddenly four thieves come up and steal a man’s wages for doing the broadcast. Or the day a real-life superhero from one of his favorite comic strips comes to town…and he has to help the superhero get out of a pickle.
Seeing as I’ve long been a fan of McCloskey’s books—Blueberries for Sal has been on the list of my most favorite picture books since I was very little!—I guess it wasn’t a surprise that Homer Price was a hit as well. It’s different from the other McCloskey books I’m familiar with, in that it’s more of a collection of short stories, rather than a dedicated picture book, but I think that may have suited our current family dynamics better than a picture book would.
Homer Price has the kind of wacky humor that I love to read. McCloskey has an excellent handle on the English language, and he can manage to take an ordinary scene and turn it into something extraordinary. Add a few impossible scenarios and several crazy characters, and it’s a wonderful tall tale! If you enjoy reading books aloud as a family, this might be an excellent choice for you. We all thoroughly enjoyed the six chapters in this book, and were only sad that there weren’t more. This isn’t a Christian story, but as far as good fiction goes, it’s well-done.
WARNING: Ch. 2—gosh (pg. 36, 37, 39, and 42) gee and golly (pg. 43). Ch. 3—I’ll be dunked and Dernd ef you (pg. 62), Zeus! (pg. 63 and 65), Oh, gracious! (pg. 64), and I’ll be durn’d! (pg. 66). Ch. 4—by Zeus! (pg. 77) and golly (pg. 78). Ch. 5—gosh (pg. 98, 101, and 112), goll durnitt and one blessed thing (pg. 103), durn’d if I kin (pg. 104), goodness only knows (pg. 105), geeminy Christmas (pg. 118), and durnit (pg. 120). Ch. 6—gosh (pg. 126).
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15
Links to buy this book:
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle | Library Binding | Audible Audiobook (unabridged)
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Paperback | Hardcover
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