Sunday, January 29, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco

Illustrated by the author
2015 Simon & Schuster
48 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 4.54
My rating: 4 (or a little less)
1st line/s:  "I was born in Allen, Kentucky, on October third, nineteen hundred and twenty four.  I grew up like any backcountry boy in Kentucky.  Tougher than last year's jerky and faster than a scared jackrabbit.  I could whittle and carve just about any kind of stick or wood and I could sneak up on just about anything.  Came in right handy for huntin'.  My pa taught me how to use a shotgun when I was knee-high to a grasshopper."

Based on a True Story

Lesson plan with questions and activities

My comments: I'll begin by saying that I'm a HUGE Patricia Polacco fan.  I've read almost all of her many wonderful books. They're not picture books for four year olds.  They're almost always geared to an older reader.  This one especially, for many reasons.  Lots of text - a typical trademark for Polacco, which I particularly enjoy as a fourth and fifth grade teacher.  A higher level of vocabulary and more complex storyline.  Always a plus for me!  I had two problems with this book.  First, some of the vocabulary and explanations about this particular war and setting could probably not be answered correctly by me or many adults sharing the book. It needed a short afterword, or something with more in-depth explanation of some of the added information that didn't belong in the main text of the story. It included an epilogue which included a little more information about the two protagonists, but nothing more.  And second, the ending left too many questions for me. Joe must have been about 85 by the time he was reunited with Little Heart.  That would have made her in her early 70s. At least.  She was still nursing? How on earth did she end up in the same hospital where he happened to be?  In MICHIGAN? I needed more information on these two points. It makes me skeptical.  However, that's adult skeptical, probably not most-kid skeptical....

Goodreads:  Friendship, loyalty, and kindness stand the test of time in this heartwarming World War II–era picture book based on a true story from the beloved author-illustrator of Pink and Say and The Keeping Quilt.
     Tucky Jo was known as the “kid from Kentucky” when he enlisted in the army at age fifteen. Being the youngest recruit in the Pacific during World War II was tough. But he finds a friend in a little girl who helps him soothe his bug bites, and he gets to know her family and gives them some of his rations. Although the little girl doesn’t speak English, Tucky Jo and Little Heart share the language of kindness. Many years later, Tucky Jo and Little Heart meet again, and an act of kindness is returned when it’s needed the most in this touching picture book based on a true story.

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