Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial
By Matt Berman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Evolution case in brief poems about the locals.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some of the townspeople are racists and religiously intolerant, but most are not.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigars and cigarettes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is little to be concerned about here, unless you'd rather your child not learn about the debate about teaching Evolution.
Where to Read
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
John Scopes is a young high school science teacher in 1925 Tennessee who is arrested when he teaches a class on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. This book tells the story of his trial through a series of poems from the points of view of various fictional townspeople -- teens and adults -- and a reporter. Includes Character List, Author's Note, and Bibliography.
Is It Any Good?
Though the Scopes Trial is an inherently fascinating moment in American history, this serviceable introduction to it focuses mainly on its impact on residents of the town. There are the teen friends who are split by the debate; an African-American teen who is educating himself and inspired to dream of becoming a lawyer; a woman who runs a small hotel; and others. Each is a real and distinct character, and through them the reader gets snippets of what happened in the courtroom, and of the nation's avid, but short-lived attention.
Novels written in verse are a burgeoning genre, but it's hard to see what that format adds here. Usually the format is chosen either because it relates to the theme (biographies of poets, stories of children who love or are learning about poetry, etc.), or because it is a way to add a lyrical, metaphorical layer to the story. But the verse here is rather flat-footed and, well, prosy. It does have the advantage of making what looks like a medium-length book a pretty quick read, so RINGSIDE might be a good choice for reluctant readers. For any class learning about the trial it can serve as a quick way in. But it would have worked just as well, and without any rewriting at all, as a shorter, prose book.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the debate, which continues today. Should Evolution be taught in schools? What about Creationism or Intelligent Design? Why do science and religion sometimes seem to be at odds throughout history? Children may also be interested in learning more about the Scopes Trial -- see below for a few places to start.
- Author: Jen Bryant
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Publication date: February 1, 2008
- Number of pages: 228
- Last updated: September 23, 2015
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate