Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dave at Night

by Gail Carson Levine
narrated by Jason Harris
New York : Random House/Listening Library, p2007.

When Dave's father dies, his stepmother Ida ties to give Dave and his brother, Gideon, to relatives at the funeral. Gideon goes to Chicago with an uncle, but since no one is willing to take Dave, Ida brings him to the Hebrew Home for Boys. Dave's adventures at the HHB (and other creative, not-so-flattering terms that HHB would also stand for) include making friends with the other elevens, dealing with bullies, and night-time escapades to salon parties during the Harlem Renaissance.

This rich historical fiction was an absolute joy to listen to. Jason Harris brings a variety of characters to life, including our narrator, Dave, a young black girl, and an older man whose speech is peppered with Yiddish phrases. The historical aspect is detailed without feeling forced, and includes descriptions of music and art of the time period. I appreciated the afterword in which Gail Carson Levine explains what was true, based on the truth, or made up. Equally recommended to children and adults, and believe me, I will be!

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