The art of keeping cool

Author Lisle, Janet Taylor.
Language English
Publisher
AudioGo, $54.95 and $39.95., 2012




Annotation:

4-6



Subjects :

  • Artists
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Grandparents
  • Fiction
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Family problems
  • Cousins

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 H.W. Wilson
  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 13th Edition, 2002 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 2001 Bank Street College of Education
  • Booklist Book Review Stars, Sep. 15, 2000 American Library Association
  • Children's Books of Distinction, 2001 Riverbank Review
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2002 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson
  • Horn Book Fanfare, 2000 Horn Book
  • Kirkus Book Review Stars, September 15, 2000
  • Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Supplement to the Eighth Edition, 2001 H.W. Wilson
  • Notable Children's Books, 2001 ALSC American Library Association

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Jefferson Cup Award, 2001 Worthy of Special Note Virginia
  • Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, 2001 Winner United States

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Battle of the Books, 2011-2012; Nominee New Mexico
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2001-2002; Nominee Vermont
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 2003; Nominee Massachusetts
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award, 2003; Nominee Illinois
  • Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, 2002-2003; Nominee Florida
  • Virginia State Young Readers' Award, 2003; Nominee Virginia
  • Young Hoosier Book Award, 2004; Nominee Indiana

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Reading Measurement Programs:


0689837887
Aladdin Paperbacks (New York:) 2002.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12


0689837879
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:) 2000.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 730
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 12


999999
Thorndike Press (Waterville Me.:) 2001.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5
Accelerated Reader Points 7

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Reviews :

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, July 2002 (Vol. 36, No. 4))
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2000: Hidden family secrets are the main theme of this novel set during WW II in a small Rhode Island town on the Atlantic. This town is adjusting to the threat of German submarine attack, with a fort nearby, big guns, and suspicious eyes looking for spies. Two boys, 13-year-old cousins, are the main characters. Robert has come with his mother and little sister to his father's childhood home, taking refuge while the father is in England fighting. Elliot is his cousin, a gifted artist, with rather strange behavior. Both boys get the brunt of their grandfather's wrath. Elliot responds by pretending to be meek and later drawing vicious caricatures. Robert has a harder time controlling his justly felt anger at this grandfather's bullying. It is this situation that must have inspired the title. Elliot befriends an artist living in a shack near the fort; the man is a German, an expressionist painter. Elliot understands immediately what Abel Hoffman is trying to do, and he spends as much time as possible painting with him, learning from him. The violent climax of the story connects two acts of violence: the attack on the German painter by townspeople, and the uncovering of the secret as to the evil in his grandfather's behavior towards his family. Of course, worry over Robert's father provides a steady amount of suspense. There are several main themes that will appeal to readers: understanding a gifted artist; the home front during WW II; fathers and sons; family secrets. Lisle writes with skill and intelligence, obviously familiar with the setting of this novel. (Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award.) Category: Paperback Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 250p., $4.99.. Ages 12 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Aladdin Paperbacks (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2002 c2000.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
PW\n said, "This wrenching WWII novel traces the relationship between two 13-year-old American boys and a German-born Expressionist painter reputed to be a spy. The intimate first-person narrative brings universal themes of prejudice and loss to a personal level." Ages 10-14. (May)"
(PUBLISHER: Aladdin Paperbacks (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2002 c2000.)

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, Sep. 15, 2000 (Vol. 97, No. 2))
Like Hahn's Stepping on the Cracks (1991), this is a powerful story of World War II at home, told by a young teenager who comes to question both friends and enemies and finds the dark inside himself. Robert is excited by the hometown military maneuvers and threatening submarines near his grandparents' New England village, where he's living while his dad's away fighting the Nazis. But the battle inside his family is scarier than the military exercises. Why is Robert's father never mentioned? What's the secret of why he left as a teenager and never came back? And why does Robert's friend and cousin, Eliot, cower before their raging grandfather? Shy, artistic Eliot has dangerous secrets, too: he's helping a German painter, Abel Hoffman, who lives in a shack near the beach. Is Abel a Nazi spy, as the angry mob in the village believes? To Robert's lasting shame, he helps them track the fugitive, then he hears about the Nazi mobs that attacked "degenerative" writers and artists like Abel and burned their work. Is the U.S. any different? Lisle weaves together the thrilling war action and the spy mystery with the battles in Robert's family and Robert's personal struggle with anger, jealousy, guilt, and betrayal. There's nothing reverential about the portrait of the gifted "crackpot" artist; in fact, all the characters are drawn with subtlety and depth (except, perhaps, the demonized Grandpa). Like Abel's expressionist art, Lisle's story shows and tells what's behind the appearances of things, the "hidden feelings and memories, terrors and passions . . . everyone knows are there but cannot speak about." Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2000, Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson, $17. Gr. 5-8. Starred Review
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Judy Chernak (Children's Literature)
This thriller skirts back and forth between reality and fantasy--from 143-ton Navy guns aimed at Nazi submarines that have managed to creep close enough to U.S. shores to torpedo ships, to a young artist named Elliot, who deftly captures real things "down on paper" where they "get caught and can't get you any more." Elliot is a cousin of the protagonist, Robert, whose father has gone to England to fly with the Royal Air Force in World War II. This forces Robert and his mother to lease their Ohio farm (never telling his father) and move in back East with his father's family. Mysteries prevail--why does a plane and its pilot, who may be his father, keep appearing to Robert? Why is his father's name never mentioned in the home where he grew up? What is the real cause of his father's bad leg, supposedly the result of a flying accident? How is it that Elliot can draw the way he does, and why does he never speak back to his irascible grandfather? And who really is the famous artist Abel Hoffman, a German in their Rhode Island town who teaches Elliot about art and threatens his closeness with Robert? Other than too many typographical errors, this fast-paced adventure provides the final unraveling of long-buried secrets and scenes of striking, hideous beauty. No happy ending here, but the reader will find a believable and satisfactory resolution. A Junior Literary Guild Selection. 2000, Atheneum, $17.00. Ages 10 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2001)
In 1942, thirteen-year-old Robert, his mother, and his little sister have moved to the small Rhode Island town where his father grew up for the duration of the war. Although Robert's father is fighting overseas, he is never mentioned, never worried over, in that house. Robert's grandfather rules with a mix of bullying and silence. His grandmother tries to keep everyone happy while pretending there isn't any problem. Robert's 13-year-old cousin Elliot seems oddly out of synch with what is happening but proves to be a talented, highly observant artist whose dark drawings capture the details of life in the house while exposing the underlying tensions and, eventually, the secret. Those tensions are reflected in the community as a whole by the presence of Abel Hoffman, a quiet German refugee artist. Abel's challenging and provocative art is inspiration for Elliot. But many, including Robert at times, think Abel is a German spy, there to monitor and report on activities at the naval station. The U.S. government's obvious interest in Abel only fuels those beliefs. The prejudice eventually builds to a frenzy, with tragic results. Janet Taylor Lisle's complex novel about intolerance intricately plays out in the story of a family and a town. It is a testament to the courage of dreamers and artists. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; Historical People, Places, and Events. 2000, A Richard Jackson Book/Athenuem, 207 pages, $17.00. Ages 10-14.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2000 (Vol. 68, No. 18))
Two stunning tragedies are at the center of this story of the WWII homefront. Lisle deftly uses the first two chapters to introduce characters and setting. The first begins with the slow progress of mighty naval guns into a Rhode Island village in 1942. Watching are 13-year-old cousins Robert and Elliot, and Abel Hoffman, an artist who has fled Nazi Germany. The second begins with a family dinner where Grandfather controls his family through barely contained rage. There is a ghost at the table and in Robert's life--his emotionally elusive father who is flying for the Royal Air Force, the mere mention of whom exacts savage reaction from Grandfather. Surrounding the two tragedies, which are never far from the surface, is a finely woven web of secrets, suspicions, prejudice, and fear. Lisle brings the anti-German sentiment that swept the East Coast into sharp relief through Hoffman, who discovers he is reliving the nightmare of his life in Germany. When the villagers, convinced he is a Nazi spy, set fire to his home and work, Hoffman walks into the flames of his own paintings. Characters are interestingly developed, especially the artistic Elliot, who uses his drawing to catch and contain images of fear so they lose their power over him. Elliot, who never directly opposes his grandfather, disappears into self-imposed isolation within his family. The second tragedy is jarring for all its earlier foreshadowing. Fittingly, it is revealed through Elliot's drawing in which Robert's defiant father is shot in the leg by his own father. The conclusion leaves Robert wondering how he can bear to live in a family that serves itself daily doses of denial and pretense, and learning "the art of keeping cool" from his enigmatic cousin. Briskly plotted, emotionally complex, brutal in incident yet delicately nuanced in the telling, a fine historical fiction. 2000, Richard Jackson/Atheneum, $17.00. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 14. Starred Review. © 2000 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, November 2000 (Vol. 34, No. 6))
Hidden family secrets are the main theme of this novel set during WW II in a small Rhode Island town on the Atlantic. This town is adjusting to the threat of German submarine attack, with a fort nearby, big guns, and suspicious eyes looking for spies. Two boys, thirteen-year-old cousins, are the main characters. Robert has come with his mother and little sister to his father's childhood home, taking refuge while the father is in England fighting. Elliot is his cousin, a gifted artist, with rather strange behavior. Both boys get the brunt of their grandfather's wrath. Elliot responds by pretending to be meek and later drawing vicious caricatures. Robert has a harder time controlling his justly felt anger at the grandfather's bullying. It is this situation that must have inspired the title. Elliot befriends an artist living in a shack near the fort; the man is a German, an expressionist painter. Elliot understands immediately what Abel Hoffman is trying to do, and he spends as much time as possible painting with him, learning from him. The violent climax of the story connects two acts of violence: the attack on the German painter by townspeople, and the uncovering of the secret as to the evil in the grandfather's behavior towards his family. Of course, worry over Robert's father provides a steady amount of suspense. There are several main themes that will appeal to readers: understanding a gifted artist; the home front during WW II; fathers and sons; family secrets. Lisle writes with skill and intelligence, obviously familiar with the setting of this novel. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, Simon & Schuster/Atheneum.207p, 00-032778, $17.00. Ages 13 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Following the tradition of Summer of My German Soldier, this wrenching WWII novel traces the relationship between two 13-year-old American boys and a German-born expressionist painter reputed to be a spy. After narrator Robert's father enlists as a pilot, Robert, his mother and younger sister move in with Robert's paternal grandparents in a small town on the coast of Rhode Island. Robert despises his hot-tempered grandfather, but finds a companion in cousin Elliot, a sensitive boy with a remarkable talent for drawing. Though Robert introduces Elliot as having "mastered the art of keeping cool," Elliot's actions belie his anxieties and nervous tics (e.g., he doesn't fit in at school, and he chews on the skin between his thumb and forefinger whenever he's troubled); and the 1950s phrase seems out of sync with the time period. When Elliot befriends the German painter, Abel Hoffman, Robert fears for his cousin's safety and the unleashing of his grandfather's wrath if the friendship were discovered. However, Robert is unprepared for the sudden explosion of hatred by the townspeople when their suspicions against Abel are aroused. As apt at writing historical fiction as she is at penning fantasy, Lisle (The Lost Flower Children; Afternoon of the Elves) weaves together an intriguing web of family secrets and wartime fears while encapsulating the wave of patriotism sweeping the nation in the 1940s. The intimate first-person narrative brings universal themes of prejudice and loss to a personal level as the boys and their artist friend discover the destructive power of war on the home front. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, January 2001 (Vol. 54, No. 5))
Anti-German fever runs high in the coastal town of Sachem’s Head, Rhode Island: residents, narrator Robert and his cousin Elliott among them, line the road to see the huge naval guns being hauled to the local fort to protect the New England coast from Nazi attack. The two thirteen-year-old boys and their immediate families are staying with Robert’s paternal grandparents while Robert’s father serves with the Royal Canadian Air Force and Elliott’s parents recover from failed finances. Elliott, a timid if talented artist, is mentored by eccentric German painter Abel Hoffman, who, after escaping Nazi persecution, is now living a solitary life in the nearby woods. Robert observes his cousin’s and the expatriate painter’s relationship with justified apprehension: Hoffman comes under unwarranted suspicion of espionage, and the result is patriotism-inspired destruction that mirrors the artist’s experience in Germany. Lisle programmatically sets her characters in their historical context, quickly establishing time, place, and local sentiment. While the relationship between Elliott and Robert is fairly complex, it exists in a literary vacuum, with little reference to anything outside their common experience. Sketchy motivations weaken the logic of characters’ decisions, making their actions more convenient than credible. Once Hoffman is set up as the obvious choice of spy, the resultant reaction of the townsfolk is dismayingly predictable (arson destroys months of the artist’s work and Hoffman walks into the flames in order to perish with his art). Despite these drawbacks, Lisle draws a chilling parallel between Nazi Germany and the United States, and then sets it in stark relief against the drama of these events. Readers will find much to ponder in this flawed but gripping novel. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 2001, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2000, Jackson/Atheneum, 207p, $17.00. Grades 6-9.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Ginny Hoskins (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 13, No. 4))
The year is 1942. Robert's father is away flying with the RAF--he was one of the first U.S. pilots to volunteer when the war began. Robert's mother finds it impossible to keep up with the family farm in Ohio and decides to rent out what she can and move with her children, twelve-year-old Robert and his five-year-old sister, to live next door to her in-laws on the coast of Rhode Island. Besides Robert's grandparents, also living nearby are Robert's aunt and uncle and his cousin Elliot, who is also twelve. Unfortunately, Robert's mother had never met her in-laws, and Robert's father had never told her why he had no contact with them. Grandpa, Dr. Saunders, is a loud, aggressive bully who verbally abuses everyone in the family. Though Elliot is a fantastically talented artist, he has to hide his talent because Grandpa has made it clear he and his talent are useless. Robert's uncle's business has failed, and Grandpa never lets him forget it. Robert refuses to be bullied, but his grandma warns him that standing up to Grandpa can be dangerous, though she won't say why. In the meantime, Nazi submarines have been sighted off the coast, and it's a time of fear and great excitement for everyone. The boys are fascinated by the big guns that are brought in to defend the coast, and they meet a famous artist who agrees to take Elliot on as his student. Unfortunately, the artist is a German immigrant and soon is accused of being a spy, resulting in a violent scene neither boy will ever forget. And more personally upsetting, Robert finally learns the reason behind his father's limp ("An accident," he always said) and why and how Grandpa had driven him away. There are many levels to this story: two boys growing up in wartime with all the usual adventures, mob hysteria, family secrets about an abusive parent, a boy's longing to have his father back and to be back home on their farm. It is a complex book dealing with serious topics, but they are well and engagingly presented for the intended age group. Grades 6-9. 2000, Atheneum, 207p, $17.00. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Beth Karpas (VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5))
Thirteen-year-old Robert lives in a world where mystery hides around every corner. In spring 1942, he, his mother, and his five-year-old sister moved from their Ohio farm to a cottage down the road from his paternal grandparent's home on the Rhode Island shore. His aunt and uncle and their thirteen-year-old son, Elliot, also share the grandparents' house. With his father flying with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Europe, Robert's mother jumped at the chance to stay near family, although she had never met the Rhode Island branch before. Mysteries abound in the big house and small town. Where are the childhood pictures of Robert's father, and why is his father not mentioned? Why does Elliot twitch and fidget, hiding his artistic gifts from his family? Who is the strange man with the German accent who wears a blue hat? Are those German periscopes out in the Atlantic? Robert wonders if his father will come home and where that home will be. This beautifully written, fascinating historical novel envelops the reader in its world. Although some of the questions it asks might be clichés, none of the answers are expected. Lisle recreates wartime America, from Rosie the Riveter to early impressionist art with a truly subtle prose. The novel should attract a diverse readership, from mystery and art lovers to fans of World War II fiction. All libraries will want this book on their shelves. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Atheneum/S & S, 207p, $17. Ages 11 to 15.
(PUBLISHER: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York:), PUBLISHED: 2000.)

Nicole Peterson Davis (Children's Literature )
World War II changed the way America looked at the world. And the war changed the outlook of one young boy. When his father went to war, his mother moved the family from a small farm to the eastern shore to be with her husband’s family. There he met his grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and his cousin, Elliott for the first time. He and Elliott became great friends. There they learned about the tragedies that were happening to the Jews in Europe. There they lost the sheltering of the farm. This fictional story is based on events that happened in one small town during the war. Although the characters are fictional, the story sheds light on the attitudes and thoughts people would have experienced during this time. In one part of the story, one of the characters explains what it was like to be chased in Europe, and then the same thing happens to him in the United States. This is a great story to teach about American History, and the effects this war had on those who stayed at home while the soldiers were fighting, but because of its intensity, the story is best for more mature children. 2012, AudioGo,, $54.95 and $39.95. Ages 8 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: AudioGo, $54.95 and $39.95., PUBLISHED: 2012)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
AudioGo, $54.95 and $39.95., 2012

Media Type:

9781935430933
1935430939
New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2002

Media Type: Language Material
250 p. ;
PZ7.L6912 ([Fic])
0689837887
9780689837883
"A Richard Jackson book."
Originally published New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2000.
Waterville Me.: Thorndike Press, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
240 p. (large print) ;
PZ7.L6912 ([Fic])
078623427X
9780786234271
New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000

Media Type: Language Material
207 p. ;
PZ7.L6912 ([Fic])
0689837879
9780689837876
"A Richard Jackson book."

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