HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Ventriloquist
Author: Red Skelton
Publisher: Lothian Book World, 1984
Language level: 3
(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 16 and up
Rating: *** 3 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Skelton,Red. The Ventriloquist (Published in 1984 by Lothian Book World). It is just before Christmas, 1929, and Charlie Kay, one of the last vaudeville ventriloquists, arrives in Ashton, a small Middle West town, for a three-day performance at the Rialto Theater with his dummy Freddie. However, his act is cancelled after one performance, and he is given a check for $20.00. He meets Lisa who was also performing at the Rialto with an acrobatic act but has quit because of mistreatment by the manager. When Charlie cashes his check at the bank, the teller accidentally gives him $200.00. He points out the error and returns the extra $180.00.
What does Charlie discern from watching the bank president, Mr. Richardson, check the books on his desk and then pace to and fro? How can Charlie use his talent to do something about it? Does anything happen between Charlie and Lisa? This is an odd little book (57 pages). It has an interesting story with an ironic twist at the end but contains some elements that right-thinking people simply could not endorse. There are also a little cursing and swearing. But one doesn’t necessarily have to agree with everything in it to enjoy it.