Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Heart Transplant by Andrew Vachss and Frank Caruso

Quiet, pudgy Sean was abused by his stepfather and bullied at school. The story is told in Sean's voice, beginning with his comparisons of real life to the movies. When his parents are shot to death in their apartment, Sean's previously unknown grandfather takes him in and teaches him how to stand up for himself.

Frank Caruso's artwork is moody and dark with judicious use of bright colours. It's very effective and also handsomely presented in an almost coffeetable-size hardcover format.

This book would be great for classroom discussion from Grade 6 upwards, assisted by the essay on bullying included in an afterword by Zak Mucha. Another intriguing discussion element to the story are Sean's actions when he refuses to break into houses to steal for his stepfather, but steals a winter coat to give as a Christmas gift to his grandfather.

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