Monday, February 4, 2013
A Stairway to Danger by Ben Woodard
I'm not very familiar with the American South - everything I know comes from Huck Finn (This is also proof that I lack what my teachers called "cultural capital). So when I read a historically accurate book like this, I end up learning a lot.
This short book is a mystery set in the 1920s South. It centers around two cousins (Will and Tom), as well as this girl called Helen. It starts off with the two boys finding a dead body, so you can tell the book moves pretty fast.
What I liked about this book were the details put into it. It's short, but there are lot of things packed into it. An explanation at the back of the book shows that the author did a lot of research, which means that whatever I learnt about Shaketown, the Nineteenth Amendment, the 369th Regiment is true. So yay, I get to learn stuff while reading a story!
I think that the characters have a lot of potential - especially Tom. As you read the book, you'd notice that he's haunted by the death of (spoiler alert!). He's also an orphan and planning to get away to the North as soon as possible. So he has a lot of directions to develop, and it'd be interesting to see how he matures in the later books.
Will seems a bit of a bully at first, but later, his character is seen to be more of a prankster. I do think that some of the things he did at first were a bit hurtful.
Oh, and my favourite part was the nod to Huck Finn, where Tom emulates a particular section of Huck Finn. It brought a "ahhhh" moment, and along with this, there were quite a lot of references to books. I love seeing how books provide inspirations for plans.
In conclusion, this is a fun read, especially for younger kids looking for mystery and adventure.
Disclaimer: I got this book free as part of Buy The Book Tours in exchange for a free and honest review.