Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review of The Year of the Bomb by Ronald Kidd

The Year of the Bomb by Ronald Kidd; Simon & Schuster, 2009.
Four thirteen-year-old boys witness the making of the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers in their hometown and its vicinity. They also become involved with the FBI and their search for Communists.

Told from the point of view of Paul, one of the boys, this delightful book takes readers on a nostalgic journey back in time to the 50s, when lives were simpler and nearly every kid had a stay-at-home mom. But it was also a time of fear. Was your neighbor really who they said they were, or were they actually a Communist? Students were practicing bomb drills because who knew when the Russians might decide to drop the bomb on the USA? These were the emotions of the 1950s, when kids could run and around and play just about anywhere they wanted without fear of being kidnapped or worse. A lot of researching went into the writing of the story, and the characters are all extremely well-developed. The plot parallels that of the movie and includes references to the actual cast and crew who worked on the film. Paul and his friends get caught up in a real-life “Red Scare” and actually befriend and help undercover FBI agents in their investigation. This book could be used along with the study of McCarthyism and the 1950s. There is plenty of humor and intrigue to keep the reader turning the pages!

Recommended for middle school, high school, and public libraries.