HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Author: Linda Buckmaster Rapson
Publisher: Moody Press, 1981
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: General youth fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Rapson,Linda Buckmaster. Kipper (Published in 1981 by Moody Press, a division of Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL). Twelve year old Kipper Bufkin, a sixth grader, lives on a farm near Fairplay, OH, with his father Clyde and his boxer dog Meatball. When the boy was five, his pregnant mother Grace was killed in a barn fire which Kipper accidentally started when he stumbled and dropped a kerosene lantern while checking on a newborn Holstein heifer. Kipper thinks that his father blames him for her death, and there has been a seven year rift between the two. Kipper’s best friend is Hallie Swickard who lives with her parents on a neighboring farm.
Kipper and Hallie both want to buy Amos, the town’s best Hereford calf and potential grand champion steer, from Mr. Parrish and win a trophy at the fair, but for entirely different reasons. Kipper hopes to win his father’s admiration and prove that he is worth something, helping to mend the shreds of their relationship and become close as a father and son should be. Hallie thinks that it would be an escape from stitching bean bags and aprons for her 4-H Club. Who gets Amos? What happens when Kipper loses the money which he’s saved up to buy the calf? And will Kipper and his father ever be able to reconcile?
This is a lovely yet humorous story of two young people who must learn to cope with both the pains and the joys of life. Mr. Bufkin spits tobacco juice, and there are a few colloquial euphemisms (e.g., “tarnation”), but no cursing or swearing occurs. The book does demonstrate the importance of developing a proper father and son relationship and well pictures the benefits of community in a rural area. Also, a lot of information about farming is imparted. In a sequel, Kipper Plays Cupid (1981), Kipper plots to have his father marry his sixth-grade teacher instead of the woman his father has chosen, and he and Hallie learn a deeper lesson about Christ’s sacrificial love.