Review Detail

 
The Wild Book Featured
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Getting Past Dyslexia, One Poem At A Time

Margarita Engle continues her streak of novels in verse about life in Cuba after the wars for independence from Spain. THE WILD BOOK is a charming story that will appeal to middle grade readers who enjoy poetry and anyone who has struggled to read.

Fefa has word blindness (dyslexia), and is tormented by the fact that she cannot read well. Her many siblings tease mock her handwriting and tease her. In her words,
"I help herd cows, brush horses,
and feed chickens.
The only chore I never finish is
reading OUT LOUD
to my big sisters,
who laugh
and call me lazy.
I hate hate hate it when they assume that I do not really try."

Fefa is extremely persistent in her desire to become a stronger reader and writer, filling a blank book with her attempts at poetry. Engle frequently has the more challenging words spelled out phonetically, although this technique fades later in the book as Fefa becomes more confident. When she realizes that she is improving, Fefa says, "When I consider the happy possibility that maybe someday I will feel smart, I grow a little bit hungry for small, tasty bites of easy words." I've seen this happen in my classes, when developing readers find the right book for them and are eager to find more like it.

The novel begins slowly, meandering through Fefa's life on the farm, so initially I wasn't as bought in as I was with THE SURRENDER TREE. Once the central plot was established, I was engaged and surprised by how Fefa's slow and careful reading is the key to her family's safety. As always, Engle's details about Cuban life in the early 1900s are the best parts of the book. I learned that wives of rebel soldiers hid messages inside giant flowers during the wars and that men would have poetry duels to see who could recite the most affecting poem. While I wish there had been more details like this, I still enjoyed THE WILD BOOK and will keep it on my shelf for struggling readers as encouragement.

Good Points
A strong theme: that hard work and persistence pays off.
Details about Cuba's history.
Fefa is a charming narrator.
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

One Week of You
For Lizzy Winston, one week will change everything. Fifteen-year-old...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1)
She is from the past, locked inside a world...
 
4.0
 
4.6 (3)
Grenade
It's 1945, and the world is in the grip...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Lines We Cross
Michael likes to hang out with his friends and...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Uncharted
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Divide
Secrets have a way of coming out. Divided by...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Orphaned (Ape Quartet #4)
Before humans, and before human history, there were the...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heirs of the Round Table: Reclaiming Camelot
Imagine discovering that your ancestors were part of King Arthur's...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Wicked Nix
A visually stunning, middle-grade classic in the making about Wicked...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey of the Pale Bear
A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Camp Valor (Camp Valor #1)
When Wyatt gets framed for a friend’s crime, he thinks...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Attack of the Plants: A Branches Book (The Magic School Bus Rides Again)
Next stop...The Magic School Bus heads to the Galapagos to...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Robot Farm (The Magic School Bus Rides Again)
Wanda proudly hosts this year's school harvest feast, but she...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Aphra's Child
Tula is a chimera in a world where chimera are...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One week on an Alaskan cruise, three teens, and an...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Homework Strike
Gregory K. has too much homework. ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Homework Strike
 
4.0
"'The Homework Strike' by Greg Pincus is a relevant and worthwhile story about the power of standing up and fighting..."
Give Me Some Truth
 
4.3
"Carson Mastick and Magpie "Maggi" Bokoni are two Native American high school students living on a reservation outside of Niagara..."
A Werewolf Named Oliver James
 
4.5
"Every day after band practice, Oliver James must be home by six o'clock sharp for dinner. However, tonight is different..."
The Parker Inheritance
 
4.0
"Candice's grandmother was a city official in the small town of Lambert before she fell into disrepute. She thought there..."
Rabbit Moon
 
4.0
"A very cute bedtime story. Rabbit lives on the moon. Each night, children make wishes and they travel to..."
Silent Days, Silent Dreams
 
4.0
"Artist James Castle was born with many problems right before the turn of the last century. Raised on a farm,..."
The Wolf Hour
 
3.0
"THE WOLF HOUR by Sara Lewis Holmes is both a fairytale retelling and something new entirely. The book focuses on..."
Love, Santa
 
5.0
"LOVE, SANTA was so beautifully written and is the perfect way to tell your little one the truth about Santa...."
Shadowhouse Fall The Shadowshaper Cypher series (Book 2)
 
4.3
"I'm a huge fan of diverse novels, especially ones that are set in the paranormal world. I was beyond excited..."
Honestly Ben
 
5.0
"Ben Carver is a perfectly normal high-achieving boy. He is a scholarship student at a fancy private school. He has..."
The Singing Bones
 
4.0
"This wonderfully creepy anthology of the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales, THE SINGING BONES is a perfect read-aloud addition to bedtime..."
Princess! Fairy! Ballerina!
 
3.5
"Fairy! Princess! Ballerina! is the ultimate read for all children! From the beginning, I felt a bit unsure about where..."
Almost Autumn
 
3.3
"'Almost Autumn' by Marianne Kaurin, and translated by Rosie Hedger, is a retelling of the Holocaust and its impact in..."
Interference
 
4.0
"Even if the characters take a bit to warm up to, the book is a good read. Stick with..."
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella (Tyme #2)
 
3.0
"Returning the the land of Thyme that was the setting for Rapunzel's adventures in Grounded, we catch up with several..."
Interference
 
4.7
"What I Loved: Kate Hamilton isn’t your sweet ingenue. She’s as well-versed in politics as her dad and is..."
Kyle Finds Her Way
 
3.0
"Kyle has a rocky start to her 7th grade year when she punches a kid in the stomach in gym..."
Unidentified Suburban Object
 
4.0
"Chloe Cho is fed up with the people around her automatically comparing her to Abigail Yang, not knowing the difference..."
Hector and the Hummingbird
 
4.5
"Hector the bear and his constant companion Hummingbird investigate the wilds of Peru, eating breadfruit and scratching themselves on trees...."
If You're Reading This
 
3.3
"This YA contemporary centers around an almost 16-year-old boy named Michael Wilson, and his coming-of-age struggles as he shoulders the..."