Little Klein Review

Little Klein
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This is a marvelous book that I could not put down; so I immediately reread it straight through --
Anne Ylvisaker has created a rural setting where the youngest brother in a family carves his own way in a much taller world, helped in his adoption by a affable dog named Leroy -- of course adventures follow: tussling with older brothers (a veritable pack of them), tangling with Mean Emma Brown, and negotiating with parents and other less-than-understanding adults.
However, to immediately classify this book as another coming-of-age story would sell it short -- this tale abounds in a kind of richness that most young adult books lack: the story doesn't necessarily play out according to type, and the language and tone of the text have a kind of character which is both warm and fulfilling. (the chapters which trace Leroy's back story and which presents the river's character are excellent examples of this: both are a surprise in the narrative, but both fill out the roles of these players, but do so in such a way that it whets the reader's appetite to keep going in the story - these were my favorite two chapters!). This is an excellent story, and the writing matches its excellence.
My only complaint is typical of those readers who have just spent time with a marvelous book -- the book seemed too short. This isn't a criticism directed towards the author, but rather my reaction after reaching the end of the book: I wanted to spend more time with Little Klein.

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A boy and his loyal dog roam freely and make mischief in a compelling portrait of a spirited family in bygone America.Born Harold Sylvester George Klein, Little Klein can't seem to measure up to the "Bigs." His older brothers are a boisterous gang held together by the bustling, bighearted Mother Klein. Try as he might to stand tall and be heard above the din, Harold often feels little and left out — until one day when a stray named LeRoy answers his whistle and the two become inseparable, with LeRoy's nose leading them from one adventure to the next. Join a cast of colorful characters in a rural river town circa 1949 where boys wrestle and fish, swipe pies, brave perilous waters on homemade rafts — and sometimes quietly become heroes.

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