Parents' Guide to

Bucking the Sarge

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Luther fights to survive his criminal mother.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Kids say (3 ):

Newbery- and Coretta Scott King-honored author Chris Curtis moves into the present in his third book, but his trademark light touch and humorous approach to serious subjects remains the same. Given the subject matter, it seems strange to say that this is an enjoyable book, but it is, and the little revenge caper at the end wraps things up nicely, if a bit unrealistically.

But whereas in Curtis' previous books, especially his first, The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, the humor combined with emotional power and impact, here the reader is kept at an emotional distance. Luther's problems are interesting and the resolution fun in an odd way, but it's all a little too light. Perhaps it's unfair -- this is still a well-written and engrossing novel. But from Chris Curtis we've come to expect more.

Book Details

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