Milkweed_cover (1)

Milkweed (paperback)

by Jerry Spinelli

AR Level 3.6, 7 points


Ah.  This book.  I knew it would be a good one, but I kept putting it off, because it’s been in my library forever.  I don’t think anyone has ever checked it out, and if they did, I have never heard them tell me about it.  It is a good read, and it gives a whole new perspective of the ghettos in Europe during World War II, something I enjoy reading about (despite the grisly and depressing topic).  Plus, Jerry Spinelli has a strong voice and distinct writing style, so I could hear his voice coming through as I read.

There is a little boy in Milkweed who goes by several different names, Stopthief and Misha being two of them.  He has no parents, no siblings, no family at all, except for a group of other abandoned/orphaned street kids who help keep him alive.  It is believed he is a gypsy and not a Jew, but once he is in the ghetto, he is adopted by a Jewish family, and he is treated as one of them.  We follow Misha as he struggles to survive until the very end.  I won’t tell you when the end for him is, but it is definitely worth the read.  It is also written at a third grade level, so it isn’t a tough read, and should go very quickly once you get into it.

What I liked about this book was learning what it was like to live in the ghetto as a homeless, orphaned, ignorant little kid.  I say ignorant, because he just doesn’t understand a lot of what goes on.  He is blissfully ignorant, but unfortunately, learns about life through experiences, both good and bad.

What I didn’t like about this book was the ending.  I felt like 95% of the book was about his life in a matter of years, and then it speeds through the rest of his life and skips to the end.  There were too many unanswered questions for me, and I just didn’t like the way it ended.  I’d have been okay with it ending more predictably.

Book 1 of… who cares!  I just want to read for fun.  No more annual challenges for me!


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