Mary Towne The Boy on the Beach

ISBN 13: 9780816734795

The Boy on the Beach

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9780816734795: The Boy on the Beach

It's 1943, and the world is at war. As the fighting escalates overseas, a polio epidemic grips children in the U.S. Twelve-year-old Ruth is trying to cope with these issues while going through challenges of her own. The only thing Ruth enjoys that summer is her family's trips to Jones Beach. There she meets a lifeguard, an older boy named Russ. Russ seems young, friendly, and fit, and he listens to Ruth and makes her feel special. But why is Russ not fighting in the war? Could he be a draft dodger? Then, one day, Ruth discovers Russ's secret and learns a lasting lesson about courage.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6-The summer of 1943 is hardly carefree for Ruth Owen, 11, despite relaxing days with her family in the surf of Long Island's Jones Beach. She is troubled by big issues like the threat of polio and the killing in World War II, as well as irksome personal woes, such as the gap between her front teeth and the fact that she will be skipping fifth grade and entering sixth with no close friends among her new classmates. She feels that her two younger sisters are much cuter and luckier-more lovable, perhaps, than she is. She does make a new friend in Russ, an attractive blond lifeguard who talks with her from his tall chair. She wonders, though, if he is a draft dodger. Her mind is eased when she learns that he is a polio survivor, and noticing, a bit too tidily, that he also has a gap between his front teeth, her doubts turn to respect. From Russ's example, she grows to understand the metaphor that one can take a pounding from a big, scary wave and then learn to face the next onslaught by choosing to dive through, rather than be "boiled" by, its stinging spray. This theme seems to override the somewhat forced, very quiet story, and characterization of minor figures is slight. However, Ruth is an engaging child, and her concerns are genuine. An additional choice for light summer reading.
Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Mary Towne
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