Posts tagged ‘England’

TIME TRAVEL ON THE THAMES

The Hexed Child (Bertram Bile Time AdventureTravel Series, Book 3

Written by Sarah Weldon

This is not my first time reading a book from the series. I did not find that a real advantage, though fans of time travel adventures might prefer beginning with Book 1. Bertram Bile and his friend, Molly are sitting in Miss Petrenko’s geography class. She is reputed to be the worst geography teacher in the world. Molly develops a plan giving them an excuse to escape class. She is eager to visit Bertram’s aunt, who just happens to be a witch. They hide in the bathroom and put on their gold-colored goggles, their key to arriving at the witch’s old ash tree home.

The witch gives each child a magic cloak. They amble through the woods and discover a child who is crying. The kind-hearted witch promises to help the mother, who has never been able to quiet the child. The storyline is a mixture of fantasy and reality. Weldon explores themes important to her middle school audience and gently guides them by discussing solutions.

The author bases her series on her experiences swimming the rivers of London. She is an environmentalist and STEM teacher, donating a part of her book sales to these interests. Recommended for readers third grade and older. A perfect chapter book for the middle-grade student audience.

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POIGNANT AND POWERFUL

Ever the Patriot: Recollections of Vincent J. Riccio World War II Veteran and POW

Edited by Candace Riccio Salem

EverthePatriot,pic

This book is told in first person based on the experiences of Vincent J. Riccio and edited by his daughter. It begins with the attack on Pearl Harbor and Riccio’s subsequent draft a few months later. Riccio began his service as an aviation mechanic in Mississippi. The first part of the book focuses on his hi jinks and pranks with his buddies as a young soldier. But Riccio wanted to fly; he eventually manages to get training as an aviator. After being sent to Horhem in England, Riccio flew combat missions over Germany. On the Luduigshafen mission, his plane was shot down. Riccio parachuted to safety, but eventually was taken prisoner by the Germans.

The second part of the story focuses on his imprisonment in POW camps and resourcefulness in surviving the Black Hunger March. As the war came closer to its end, Riccio uses his ingenuity to obtain weapons, food and German prisoners. Down to 84 pounds when he was freed from captivity, Riccio warms the reader’s heart when he relates his elation at seeing the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor upon his return to America. I think the gist of the book is best summarized in his own words, “You learn about people, you learn about human nature. You learn what the human body can take. The ones that couldn’t take it, didn’t make it.”

This story contains the gamut of human emotions; Riccio is at once the boy next door and a war hero. He does not judge, but simply tells it like it is. Recommended for teens and adults interested in history and human behavior.

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