A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers may appreciate the author's take on the difficult situation faced by immigrants, and the tough decisions families have to make.
Coming-of-age story about a boy separated from his father -- and having to make complicated moral decisions as he migrates to the United States.a.
Positive Role Models
José may be a bit two-dimensional, but he is a likable and noble hero. But from start to finish he is an upright, if justifiably fearful, boy who does his best in a bad situation.
Violence & Scariness
Jose's dog attacks a man who threatens him. A wooden splinter pierces Jose's shoulder. Several scenes, one in a communal shower, where a man clearly, though not explicitly, intends to molest Jose.
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Uses the derogatory term "wetback."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Several scenes where adults drink; drunkenness is mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Maldonao Miracle by Theodore Taylor (The Cay), is a coming-of-age story about a boy separated from his father -- and having to make complicated moral decisions as he migrates from Mexico to the United States. Readers will appreciate the author's take on the difficult situation faced by immigrants, and the tough decisions families have to make. José may be a bit two-dimensional, but he is a likable and noble hero. Some of the content, especially the potential child molester, may be a bit intense for young tweens, making this novel best for kids 12 and up.
Is It Any Good?
The story is interesting and at times exciting, and José is a likable and noble hero, though from start to finish he remains a two-dimensional character. The author does attempt to have him gain more confidence at the end, but it seems to come from nowhere. When it was first published in 1973 the allusions about pedophilia may have gone over children's heads, but they are unlikely to now, which makes the book a better choice for kids 12 and up.
Award-winning author Theodore Taylor is perhaps best known for The Cay, a rich and complex novel during which the main character grows and changes dramatically. The Maldonado Miracle is considerably simpler, a straightforward, though gripping, story without much subtlety or character development.
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