News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

A boy and his dog and a girl and her journal

Editor’s note: These book reviews were written by fifth-grade magnet program students at Leon Sheffield Elementary School.

OLD YELLER. By Fred Gipson. HarperTrophy, 192 pages, $5.99, paperback.

Jordan Weaver
Special to THE DAILY

“Old Yeller” is a sad story of a boy, Travis, whose dad goes with a group to the new cattle market. At the market, Travis finds a dog that helps him take care of everything while his dad is gone. Travis names the dog Old Yeller and they become best friends.

Then, something terrible happens. When the boy first finds Old Yeller, he does not like him. Later in the story, the dog saves Travis’ brother’s life. From that point on, Travis and Old Yeller are inseparable. Old Yeller helps hunt, guard and the keep the house in order. Then, one day a man comes to claim the dog, but sees how much the dog means to Travis. The man decides to leave Old Yeller with Travis, but warns him about the rabies going around.

This book has become a classic as it tells the tale of Old Yeller and Travis. The dog and boy share many adventures working and playing hard. It ends with great sadness, yet also offers hope. I think anyone, of any age, would enjoy reading this book.

ABSOLUTELY NORMAL CHAOS. By Sharon Creech. HarperTrophy, 240 pages, $5.99, paperback.

Ashli Morris
Special to THE DAILY

“Absolutely Normal Chaos” is a great book by Sharon Creech. I think this book would mostly appeal to girls because it’s written as a summer journal by Mary Lou Finney.

Mary Lou has three brothers and an older sister. That summer, nothing goes too good, then it gets worse! Mary Lou’s cousin, Carl Ray, moves in with them while he searches for his father. Carl Ray tells the family he’s come to find work, and doesn’t tell them about his search for his father.

Carl Ray is a very lazy boy and eats more than Mary Lou’s ever seen. He doesn’t even make his bed. Soon, there’s a surprise for Carl Ray. He is given money for a college education, with extra money, too. Mary Lou discovers he’s not there for a job, and she keeps asking him questions. Mary Lou starts to like Carl Ray better. When he’s in an accident, everything is turned around! The book ends with summer’s end.

“Absolutely Normal Chaos” is filled with romance, drama and numerous problems. It’s a great book that I loved. When you read this book, you can tell Mary Lou’s life is absolutely normal chaos. It’s just like the chaos in everyone’s life. Three cheers for Sharon Creech!

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