HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Spoon Boy
Author: Jim Cruise
Illustrators: Marianna Heule and Jon Post
Publisher: Faustina Publishing, 5th edition published in 2009
Related website: http://www.SpoonMan.biz (author)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Cruise, Jim. Spoon Boy (published in 2007 by Faustina Publishing, 318 White Tail Court, Grandville, MI 49418). It is the early 1970s, and Jimmy, nine years old and in fourth grade, lives with his dad, who works the night shift at General Motors, his mom, who does her housework to disco music, and his two younger sisters, eight year old Susie and three year old Lori. Listening to his mother’s disco music, he is an active boy in constant motion aching to drum out rhythms, but his parents have no interest in pursuing his drumming dreams, and he keeps getting into trouble at school for his drumming noises. Also, during the coming year he faces moving to a new neighborhood and school for fifth grade.
Therefore, Jimmy turns towards his Grandfather’s spoon playing and discovers his rhythmic abilities. He is not very good at first and fails to make his old school’s talent show, but through perseverance, he builds his confidence and self-esteem. His friends start calling him “Spoon Boy.” But can his spoons help him to quiet a screaming child at the grocery store or to find his lost sister while horseback riding? And what will he do when his spoons are stolen at his new school? Author Jim Cruise has been performing professionally as “The Spoon Man” for over twenty years.
In this semi-autobiographical story, Jimmy learns not only spoon playing but also some important life lessons about patience, hard work, and courage in dealing with change. The euphemistic word “gee” does appear a few times, and Grandpa is said to be unable to smell because he “smoked too many cigarettes.” However, Jimmy says his prayers at night and begins to see the importance of exercising self-control to keep from getting in trouble. In addition to the moral values illustrated, the book provides a good look into what life was like for average kids in the 1970s. How will Jimmy do in the spring talent show at his new school?