Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ears to Hear

Ears to Hear, written by Ann Correll, is the story of two boys who find themselves alone in the woods. They are both scared about the prospect of being alone, but the younger of the two, six-year-old Timmy, is convinced they will be okay because his “new friend” has told him so. Tommy, the older one, can’t see or hear Timmy’s friend, so he thinks Timmy is imagining things or just telling stories.

The boys are on a trip with their father when their car breaks down. They can’t see any houses around and there is no one to help them. So, Timmy and Tommy’s father leaves the boys in the car telling them to stay there until he gets back. Their father doesn’t return that day, or the next or the next. In fact, he’s gone for a long time. But Jess, a kind man who lives nearby comes to their rescue.

Pencil-sketch illustrations are scattered throughout depicting scenes from the text. The people depicted in the illustrations don’t look very realistic.

What I Like: I like the basic theme of the story, that of discovering “what amazing things a person can hear when he learns to listen.” Timmy learns to listen to God’s voice, the way his father taught him to and the way Jess reinforces. Tommy slowly comes to understand what is going on.

What I Dislike: Having said that, I regret that I must say there were many more things I dislike than like about the story. The whole idea of two boys being left alone in a car, in the middle of a strange forest, bothers me. The idea that a strange man comes out of the woods to rescue them bothers me, too. I realize the writer needed a storyline to go with the idea of trusting in God’s voice, but I think a better one could have been chosen.

And, there are several scenes in the book that didn’t ring true. When Jess offers to let the boys stay with him in his cabin, he tells them he doesn’t live far away, yet according to the story they have to “walk for hours” to reach Jess’ house. And, when Tommy falls into a hole, why didn’t Timmy run to Jess for help?

As if that weren’t enough, the writing leaves much to be desired with stilted dialogue, continuously changing points of view and several typos throughout. The writing style made the storyline even more difficult to follow.

Overall Rating: Ho hum.

Age Appeal: 9-12.

Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 9781617396311; 84 pages, Paperback, $8.99.

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Kathy Cassel said...

As a mom of 8 (two by birth), the thought of leaving children in the car is very scary. And a stranger approaching them? What happened to stranger danger awareness? If a dad leaves his kids alone in the car, I hope that social services is the next person on the scene! I think I'll pass on this one.

Christine M. Irvin said...

Although the central message of the story was a good one, that of learning to listen to God, like you, I found the premise and setup disturbing.

Thanks for your thoughts.