Saturday, October 16, 2010
John Grisham for Kids is a Cliff Hanger
I just finished Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham and I can't wait to read the next book! I was surprised when I came to the end of the book and it DIDN'T END! I wasn't able to close the case, find the bad guy guilty and cheer for Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer!
My first reaction was frustration, but then I thought how brilliant it was. Kids are definitely going to want to read the next book to find out what happens.
Theodore Boone is the son of two lawyers and is in love with the law himself. He hangs around the court house and makes friends with judges, secretaries, para legals, bailiffs, court reporters, anyone who can get him inside the law and all that goes with it. In this first book, he is intrigued by the biggest case to hit Strattenburg, a murder in the gated community nearby. He talks his way into the court room and manages to get seats for his 8th grade government class field trip on the first day. As in all Grisham novels, the defendant is seen as guilty by most of the people involved with the trial, but the case is not cut and dried and it looks as if he will probably walk.
Theodore watches and can't help but feel that the guy will get away with the perfect crime until a class mate from El Salvador comes to him for help in algebra and English. During the tutoring session it comes out that his cousin who is in the country illegally may have witnessed something that could have a huge impact on the murder trial. I'll stop there because I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say from that point on, I couldn't put the book down!
Throughout the story, Grisham introduces side plots like Theodore's friend April who is involved in a messy custody/divorce situation. Theodore is periodically asked for legal advice from class mates including the popular cheerleader who needs help freeing her dog from the pound and the school secretary whose family member has been arrested on drunk driving charges. Obviously Theodore can't and doesn't go to any court higher than animal court, but he does dispense with some pretty good legal advice and the information he shares about our court system is well written and informative.
Grisham is great at building the suspense in this book and it is very much like adult books, but written specifically for kids. I was a little suspicious when I saw that he had entered the kids book field, but I was very impressed at how the book was written clearly for kids, I'll be recommending it to my fifth graders for sure.
The Book Aunt
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