HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Whistling Hardy’s Many Adventures
Author: Malinda Mitchell
Illustrator: Becky Hyatt
Publisher: PublishAmerica, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-4512-5420-4 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4512-4055-9 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4512-4054-2 (softcover)
Related website: www.publishamerica.com (publisher)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Mitchell, Malinda. Whistling Hardy’s Many Adventures (published in 2010 by PublishAmerica LLLP, Baltimore, MD). What would you think of a tall, lanky middle-aged man who spent his time traveling on foot from town to town, carrying only a change of clothes and enough food to last him until he could find work? Woody Hardy from South Carolina is such an individual. Woody has never married, but worked hard, saved his money, and retired early from his job so that he could follow his dream. As he goes along, he likes to skip and whistle. Therefore, he’s known as “Whistling Hardy.” He is a very friendly, kind, and caring man who makes a lot of friends along the way.
Author Malinda Mitchell chronicles Whistling Hardy’s adventures. One day he finds a large gold coin in the road, which leads him to Parker and Delia Sanderson’s farm where he works for them awhile as a bookkeeper and helps their friend Mrs. Williams. Moving on to the next town, he comes across two young boys, Jimmy and Johnny Landis, does odd jobs on their parents’ farm, and teaches the two boys how to whistle. After that, he finds an injured mynah bird which he nurses to health and while staying in Mrs. Gadsden’s motel assists a young man named Kevin Baines who is down on his luck. Farther along the road, he sees the small farm of Robert and Thelma Finch and their dog Little Kippie Poo. Robert has been taken to the hospital with pneumonia, so Woody finds another opportunity to do good deeds. But will Woody ever settle down and return home?
Some people might conclude that Whistling Hardy’s Many Adventures is hopelessly unrealistic and silly. I would strongly disagree with that conclusion. Obviously, the story is fiction, as the information page says, “All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.” However, Woody Hardy illustrates many great character traits, such as cheerfulness in life, helpfulness to others, kindness to animals, and striving to achieve a personal goal, about which it is good for children to read in adults so that they might learn to emulate these qualities, even though they may never quite grow up to go whistling and skipping down the road. The book could have used a little editing for some very minor issues with grammar and punctuation, but otherwise it is a pleasant read that I found quite interesting.