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Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1999)
In the My Name Is America series, Myers (Monster, p. 725, etc.) writes of Scott Collins, who, on June 6, 1944, has no idea what awaits him on Omaha Beach. Within minutes after hitting the beach, Collins changes from a naive high school graduate who'd like to many Ann Miller to a bewildered young man facing the strong probability that he won't live to see his 18th birthday. Scott's daily straggle and courage contrast with his memories of home; an affecting touch is the inclusion of Scott's thoroughly ordinary life after he returns to his small Virginia town. Although the diary and Collins are fictional, Myers conceals his inventions with utterly convincing writing; this volume would work well as a companion to Cynthia Rylant's I Had Seen Castles (1993). 1999, Scholastic, $10.95. © 1999 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, May 1999 (Vol. 33, No. 3))
The "My Name is America" series for middle school readers, especially appealing to boys, is meant to be a companion series to the highly successful "Dear America" series. Each is the fictional journal of an "ordinary" American boy who is participating in an important event in American history. Accompanying the intimate "journal" are illustrations, maps, historical notes, and an epilogue (which tells about the "life" of the boy after the journal ends). So the mix of fact and fiction is ongoing. The journal of Scott Collins tells about a 17-year-old whose first battle is the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach on D-Day 1944. Saving Private Ryan has told this historical story about as vividly as anyone could expect, but Myers' book is a "PG" version. The journal captures some of the action, horror, fear, and heroism of those soldiers who participated in the invasion in a way middle school readers can absorb. Young Scotty writes about his family, his homesickness, his horror of killing, the nightmare of war. For two months he slogs through Normandy, participating in the most important battles until an injury necessitates his evacuation. We are accustomed to Myers telling about black people and their history, and here he only mentions the participation of black soldiers briefly, because in the segregated army they were used for coffin detail and other separate tasks. Illustrations, maps, and historical notes add to the factual detail, and an epilogue continues the story of Scott's fictional life to completion. This attractive series will certainly appeal to readers who like action, history, and a feeling of vicariously being there. We hope it will encourage readers to turn to more challenging reading, both fiction and nonfiction, for further information. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Scholastic, 144p. illus, $10.95. Ages 13 to 15.
Janice M. Del Negro (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 1999 (Vol. 53, No. 1))
Scott Pendleton Collins is a wet-behind-the-ears, green-as-grass soldier right out of boot camp when he lands on the coast of Normandy in 1944. His journal entries indicate he grows up fast--they change from disingenuous naïveté to shell-shocked horror as he survives battle after battle in the fight to take France back from the Nazis. The opening entries are clumsily written and shallow as Collins writes about what a creep Hitler is and “English girls all hot to trot for American guys”; his tone becomes grimmer as more and more of his fellows die around him and he is promoted to sergeant by virtue of still being alive. Myers captures the mind-numbing fatigue and sheer randomness of wartime. Intense fear is ever present, and it can be dealt with only through humor: “I’m so scared that if I ran right into myself I’d shoot me three or four times before I even said hello. Only thing that keeps me from running is I don’t know which way to run and I’m too tired to get up and look around.” The entries evidence a growing maturity in Collins as he grimly determines to fight, to survive, to live. Myers hints at things not always emphasized in history textbooks: the fate of German prisoners wounded too badly to travel, the contribution of African-American troops to the war effort, the lack of information that often left troops without a clear picture of the progress of the war. Those readers old enough to see Saving Private Ryan will appreciate this close-up look at one individual’s military experience. A historical note, black-and-white photographs, and a foldout map of the Battle of Normandy are included. Review Code: R -- Recommended. (My Name Is America) (c) Copyright 1999, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1999, Scholastic, 144p, $1.95. Grades 6-9.
Russell Souders (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 12, No. 4))
In reading this journal, the reader will develop an even greater respect for the men and women that fought in WW II. The stories which Scott Pendleton Collins wrote about his personal life are most enjoyable. This is a very realistic book that gives a true picture of what went on in the lives of soldiers during WW II. Students will gain a new respect for people who risked their lives for our freedom. The language that is used in this collection, from the military terms to the slang, is fascinating. It is easy to follow, even with the high vocabulary used. This book makes an excellent addition to a history unit on WW II. It is very eye-opening and willing to share a piece of history with anyone who chooses to pick it up. After experiencing this journal, we, as Americans, cannot ignore what so many men and women did for the United States during WW II. (My Name Is America) Fiction, Highly Recommended. Grades 5-6. 1999, Scholastic, 140p, $10.95. Ages 10 to 12.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.M992 Jp 1999