Wednesday, August 15, 2012


MilkweedMilkweed by Jerry Spinelli

On the library shelves: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 3.6
Awards: Booklist Editors' Choice; Parent's Guide Book Award/ Honor Book; Golden Kite Award/Honor Book

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This novel is set in Warsaw during World War II. It features a homeless boy who has no past and doesn't even know his own name. He is befriended by an older boy named Uri and given the name of Misha. Uri invents a past for Misha and tells him he is a gypsy. Even though being a gypsy in Nazi-occupied territory is bad, being a Jew like Uri is worse. 

Eventually Misha and the other street boys are moved into the Jewish ghetto. There they experience the horrors of hunger, sickness, filthy living conditions and torturous rule by the Nazis. Eventually many are sent to the concentration camps, but Misha escapes.

I normally love Jerry Spinelli but I was so disappointed this was the one required summer reading book for my rising 7th grader. This book is very unlike his other novels and I felt that he was going for shock value instead of literary value. I read the book in one sitting because I just wanted to be done with it as quickly as possible. I failed to connect with the characters and the book felt vague, dark, and hopeless.

Also reviewed by: Diary of an Eccentric ~ Your link here?
Source: Purchased

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thanks for linking to my review! I haven't read other Spinelli books, so I can't compare, but my daughter likes this author. She felt the same way I did about this book. There were some good things about it, but I just didn't like how he portrayed Misha. He just seemed so immature to me, like he was seeing all this horrible stuff on a daily basis and he still didn't understand how evil the "jackboots" were. It didn't make sense. An author's note at the end would have been great.