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How Angel Peterson got his name

by Gary Paulsen


Book Review

:

Publishers Weekly :

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Paulsen, who has written several volumes of memoirs, once again reaches back to his boyhood in northern Minnesota, this time to recount his and his pals' attempts to pull off stunts that live up to their billing as "outrageous" and "extreme," even by today's standards. An expansive foreword (which includes vivid details of the then-12-year-old author's almost catastrophic endeavor to ride over a dam in a covered wooden pickle barrel) and a don't-try-this-at-home admonitory note precede five swaggering tales of his contemporaries' derring-do. In the title story, a newsreel report about a new world record for speed on skis inspires a 13-year-old to try to break it-by attaching himself to a car on the flatlands. Elsewhere, a boy rigs up a hang-glider of sorts from an army-surplus target kite and a piece of hockey stick, and lands in a pig pen; impressed by the daredevil shows at county fairs, the gang imitates the stuntmen's maneuvers on their Schwinn bikes, etc. Paulsen laces his tales with appealing '50s details and broad asides about the boys' personalities, ingenuity and idiocy. Despite (or maybe because of) a heavy residual tinge of the fish story, this collection will likely hook adults as much as young readers. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-8-Paulsen accounts for his 13th year "of wonderful madness" when he and his friends tried to shoot a waterfall in a barrel, break the world record for speed on skis, hang glide with an Army surplus parachute, and perform other daredevilish stunts. Readers will be drawn to the term "extreme sports" but the story is more accurately one generation's version of homemade fun in the days following the Korean War when "radio was king" and the great outdoors served as the playground. Like much of his autobiographical fiction, these sketches are more episodic than plot driven. Paulsen exhibits a wry sense of humor and storytelling ability as if he were sitting on a country porch with eager listeners at his knee. In one chapter, a friend borrowed a quarter to wrestle a bear at the carnival to get the attention of a girl, only to be swept out of the ring by a giant paw, like "a hockey puck with legs." The stories are fresh and lively and will especially appeal to reluctant middle-grade readers.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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