Friday, October 8, 2010

The Gypsy Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I was a little disapointed with this book. It was obviously written long after the first book so some of the language had changed (the same language that had made the first one a little outdated) but there were also some subtle modernization. The first book was obviously set in time it was written so to have the book go from the 1960's to the 1990's was a little unsettling especially since I read them back to back. Most children may not pick up on these things but as an adult reader it was a little distracting.
With that said, however, the plot was still just as good. The Gypsy Game kind of faltered for the children as a real life drama took over but the book never let down the reader. I especially liked Ms. Snyder's discussion about what Gypsy life was like and the hardships that particular group of people have faced. I like the realism and the hidden education in the book. This would be a great book to talk about prejudice and oppression.
There are so many themes in this book that make it wonderful. This time you meet Toby's father who is a very eccentric artist. It's an interesting contrast to his best friend Ken who's parents are practical and well-to-do. The two ends of this spectrum are nicely balanced and really are more subtle. There is no beating the reader with a cause. Ms. Snyder talks about homelessness when Toby runs away and ends up living in an abandoned house with three homeless people.
This is a really powerful book and a great sequel.

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