Add Christopher Paul Curtis to my list of favorite authors. His novel The Madman of Piney Woods is a companion book to his novel, Elijah of Buxton that is set forty years earlier.
I listened to the audio version of this on the free app OverDrive that allows you to check out ebooks and audio books from your local library. The readers of this one were amazing. They hired Kirby Heybourne to read Red's chapters and J.D. Jackson to read Benji's chapters. The writing is amazing, but their reading really made the story come alive. They had me laughing and crying.
What do a red-headed Irish boy, and a black boy have in common? I wondered this as the story went forward until they met in the second half of the book. They have the Madman, or the Lionman as Red calls him, in common along with a few other things.
Benji is a horrible tease to his younger siblings and a bit arrogant, but his character is realistic and honest. He grows throughout the story and becomes a good friend to Red.
Red wants to be a scientist and has a mean old grandmother who scares the bejeebers out of him. He is blessed with a kind and loving father who helps him cope with his Irish grandma.
The characters come alive in this story, as they always do when Curtis is the writer. Curtis used beautiful language and makes the reader feel like they are right there in the story. He is a masterful storyteller and there are stories within the story.
I was sad when the story ended and felt like I wanted to be a better, more forgiving person.
Once again, Curtis has not disappointed, and I am shocked that this book didn't take home a Newbery.
Expand your knowledge of history by reading historical fiction. Read to a child today or allow amazing readers to read a story to you.