Just for the young? Not necessarily!, January 28, 2009
By Al Past (Beeville, TX USA) - See all my reviews
Tales of a Texas Boy is a collection of 21 reminiscences of rural life in the Texas panhandle during the Depression, told in the voice of an eleven year old remembering his childhood as an elderly man (modeled after the author's father). Each tale is short and complete in itself, and all add up to a convincing evocation of what life was like during those days in that area of Texas.
The boy, of course, would not dwell on hardship, deprivation, or lack of creature comforts. From his point of view, he had regular chores to perform, a loving, fairly strict family to live with, and various spells of an interesting or exciting nature to experience.
These include adventures with snakes, a man who had a pet bear, a livestock auction, driving his father's Model A pickup truck, a wild jackass, various odd neighbors, going on an old-fashioned cattle drive, dogs, skunks, fishing, chickens, and his little sister, to name a few. Each story is preceded by a few sentences of authorial scene-setting--a nice touch--and a small black and white photograph, not credited or explained, but adding a pleasant visual accent to the pages.
The prose style has a countrified flavor, but not excessively so. Each story is well narrated, with the right details in the right place and usually a satisfying and appropriate conclusion.
Tales of a Texas Boy is intended to be a young adult book, but I see no reason younger children wouldn't enjoy it too, or adults, for that matter. I enjoyed it myself, and I am very far from a young adult. It reminded me of some of the stories J. Frank Dobie, the grand old man of Texas folklore, used to love. In fact, parents who are in the habit of reading bedtime stories to their children (an excellent idea) might find children as young as five would be entertained by them--the length of the stories is about right, and they offer a fine opportunity for parental dramatic reading. Indeed, the point could be impressed upon the child that daily life, however prosaic it might seem now, is worth gathering and writing down for the interest it might have in the future. It's easy to imagine a sleepy child asking why the Texas Boy never watched television. Calling grandpa and grandma!
(Al Past is the author of the popular Distant Cousin series and reviews for PODBRAM.)
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Review for "Tales of a Texas Boy"
A new review has been posted on Amazon. Thanks to Al Past, author of the Distant Cousin series.