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The Crazy Man
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Gr 5 Up-This beautifully written novel in verse tells the story of a 12-year-old girl struggling to recover after a freak farm accident leaves her partially crippled and fatherless. Her dad, after shooting the dog that he blames for the tractor mishap, walks out on her and her mother, leaving them to tend the farm by themselves. After a long and painful hospital stay, Emaline returns home to a distraught mother who doesn't have any help sowing the fields. When several conventional plans fall through, the woman decides to bring in a patient from the local mental hospital to drive the tractor and sow the fields. Angus, a gentle giant, slowly gains the trust of Emaline and her mother through his hard work and his kindness to people and animals alike. Despite the town's grumblings about how dangerous Angus must be, he is allowed to continue working on the farm, but not without enduring much cruelty from neighbors and townspeople. It is only when he performs the ultimate act of heroism that others in the town finally recognize Angus's worth as a human being. Emaline is a rich character full of conflicting emotions about her father, her mother, and her strange new family. Subtle in its themes and organization, this book is pure pleasure, offering lessons about love, loyalty, and loss.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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