Reviews for For the Duration : The War Years


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #1
"The latest in dePaola's autobiographical chapter-book series about growing up during World War II perfectly mixes big war news with daily battles at school and at home, and dePaola's occasional shaded black-and-white pictures capture the action and emotion. There is excitement in little Tomie's First Holy Communion and in saying good-bye to his uncle who is going off to be a soldier. But the shock and sorrow for the cousin who died in the war is always with Tomie, and so is the ongoing fight with his big brother, who calls him a sissy and does nothing to protect him from the schoolyard bullies. In the middle of the story, Tomie's journal entries no longer start off each chapter, because his brother has destroyed the diary. Kids will appreciate that there is no easy reconciliation. As with the air-raid drills, blackouts, and rationing, Tomie realizes that he will have to put up with his mean brother "for the duration."" Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Tomie grieves his cousin, shot down in the war. His sadness remains, but life goes on while preparing for his role as a tap-dancing King Neptune (some teasing is involved) and for his First Holy Communion. Meanwhile, rations are imposed, with everyone making sacrifices "for the duration." Spot art and half-page illustrations along with excerpts from Tomie's diary add to the period homeyness. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 2-4--In May 1942, while the school choir practices the Air Corps song, young Tomie reflects on his cousin's war-related death and goes home in tears. This event triggers a change in his relationship with his brother Buddy that, along with the news that his Uncle Charlie will be going into the Army, casts a shadow on the second grader's year. Throughout the time period covered in this book, the boy hears the phrase "for the duration," which he comes to realize refers to more than just rationing. References to contemporary film and music stars (Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rodgers, etc.) set the book firmly in the early 1940s. Upbeat events include a dance recital, where Tomie shines as King Neptune; the citywide art exhibit at his school; and First Communion preparation. Early chapters begin with diary entries, but the diary soon disappears. Tomie finds the ruined journal by the book's end, and wonders sadly why his brother Buddy is so mean. dePaola's style and word choices are just right for his audience, and the point of view is consistently that of a second grader. Full-page and spot art black-and-white pencil drawings and silhouette art by the author illustrate this must-read title for fans of the series.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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