I mention my discovery of Mr. Terupt in this post. Rob Buyea makes reference to several books throughout the two books that I’ve read and I have made my journey into some of those books. So here are my reviews on “Belle Teal” by Ann M. Martin and “Belle Prater’s son” by Ruth White
“Belle Teal” is told in first person by a girl who’s been named after her grandma – Belle Teal. The story takes place roughly 1961 – 1962 I’m guessing in Virginia. Two things stand out for me. One is that Belle’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s or another form dementia. It isn’t explained. Even back then – there wasn’t the same understanding that we have now – and are still trying to explain.
The other is/was the relationship between her classmates. One is a black student who has just transferred into an all white school. Another is a high and mighty princess, also a first timer for that particular school. The other is the son of an abusive drunkard parent. They had formed a friendship in a previous grade.
I absolutely love the way Belle Teal handles herself and tries hard to make friends and tries hard to add harmony to classmates and to situations that occur. I also like her enthusiasm with her writing and her creativity. She reminds me a little bit of my own Jenna.
“Belle Prater’s Son” also takes place in Virginia – but about ten years earlier. It is told in first person – which I enjoy. I always have an easier time getting into books that are told in first person.
Gypsy is Belle Prater’s niece, who tells the story mostly about her relationship with her cousin Woodrow, who moves in next door shortly after his mom disappears. There is a bit of mystery involved, tall tales, and finding self esteem. The message I took from this story was that looks are not important and we needn’t treat one another in a way that focus on outward appearance. I love how the characters are willing to accept themselves and grow. I also like how Woodrow appreciates the simple things and what Gypsy has taken advantage of for some time become new again.