I think I have been avoiding writing a review of this book because I didn't really like it, and that makes me a little sad, having loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View From Saturday by the same author. (Of course now I'm thinking my procrastination may be due to the long titles I would have to type out.)
Review a la Amazon:
From Audio File
Unlikely characters and moments in history are set to converge when Amedeo Kaplan moves to St. Malo, Florida. At school, he befriends William and, subsequently, Williams mother, as well as his neighbor, Mrs. Zender. As the boys assist Mrs. Zender with her upcoming move, they discover much about her past, the artist Modigliani, and the interconnection between them all. While he sets a definitive pace and an intimate tone, Edward Herrmann is an unobtrusive narrator. He lets Konigsburgs distinctive characters share their story. As Mrs. Zender, he is imperious; as art collector and godfather Peter Vanderwaal, flamboyant; as Amedeo, alternately confident and introspective. Listen attentively. A.R. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the audio CD edition.
Despite being well-narrated, I just couldn't get into the story, and had a hard time imagining a child getting into it either. Much of the story is focused on the adult characters rather than the two boys, and the plot also introduces the topics of homosexuality and nude art. If you need a springboard to discuss these with your child, maybe this is the book for you, but if these subjects are not quite on your child's radar yet, either wait or pass this book by. The one thing I did like about it was the World War II art history, but that may be a bad sign for non-history fans that the history portions were the most exciting part.