Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wolf Hollow gets 4 Stars {newbery honor, middle grade fiction, historical fiction}

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, a Newbery Honor 2017 book, gets 4 out of 5 stars in my book review of this historical 1940s book set in rural Pennsylvania. This book is a great read aloud for teachers and parents.  Best for 5th through 8th graders and up.  middle grade fiction, historical, bullying, dealing with bullies, what to do, veterans, WWI, WWII, impacts from war. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book

Newbery Honor Award
Helping Others
1940's Pennsylvania
WWI and the after affects. 

These are just a few of the tags you could give Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk.  This book is incredibly well written with a beautifully story with depth and a wonderful coming of age story.

Annabelle is a 12 year old girl in rural Pennsylvania.  She lives with her two younger brothers, parents, aunt, and grandma and grandparents on a farm.  There are forests, rolling hills, and a lot of history.  The telephone was just coming about, WWII had begun, and the people were still feeling the effects of the last world war.

Wolk did a fantastic job writing this story, and she is well deserving of the Newbery Honor.  The character development for the main characters was well done.  The story had depth with history, and the reader is able to gain a new perspective about that time period in rural America.

Wolf Hollow gets 4 out of 5 stars.  It truly is a beautiful story, and I highly recommended it for 5th grade and up.  I loved the way Annabelle grew and was able to stand up to Betty the bully.  I loved how kind and compassionate Annabelle was to Toby but also Mr. Ansel.  I loved how Annabelle felt sorry for Betty and felt like she was partly responsible, even though she wasn't.  I liked the relationship Annabelle had with her parents.  The story, in all of it's "not a happy ending" or "perfect family" portrayal felt real yet entertaining and relatable.

The setting and description of Wolf Hollow was just enough for the reader to picture it in his/her head, but it didn't overwhelm the reader with details.  The story felt homey and comfortable, but it wasn't predictable either.  I really enjoyed so many aspects of Wolf Hollow; it's a fabulous story.

With all of my praises for this book you may be curious why Wolf Hollow lost a star in my book review rating.  The story is a touch slow to get going; this was actually my 3rd time picking it up before I was able to finish it.  I also felt the transformation of Henry, Annabelle's younger brother, to be far to quick and abrupt.  He acted childish the entire story, but suddenly at the end he was mature.  I would've loved to have seen a slower more realistic development for this minor character.   Now you may be thinking people grow up in tough situations, but Henry's transformation seemed forgotten until the end.  My last reason for a less than perfect rating is the fact that few students will pick this book up to read.  This may have to be a Battle of the Books selection, or a teacher/parent will need to read it aloud with students to get them to read it.  I guess in general, this book doesn't grab a reader, even though there is a lot of value and literary merit for it.   

I do love that the way Creech wrote a Walk Two Moons seemed similar to Wolk's writing style in Wolf Hollow.  Also, the storyline of Wolf Hollow seemed similar to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Basically, Wolf Hollow is in good company, and it is a great book you should definitely check out.    

Happy Award Winning Well Written Historical reading! 

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Rating: 4/5 stars
Best For: 10 - 13 year olds, 4th through 8th grade.
Worth a Check Out: Yes.
Buy It or Not: In should definitely be in school collections, but probably not personal collections. 
Read Aloud: Yes, a great historical read aloud for 5th grade and up.  
Lesson Ideas: History, 1940s, WWI, Veterans, Rural Pennsylvania, Farming, Bullying, Kindness, Photography, No judgement.  

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