.
This book was originally composed as a series of stories for two very
precocious children when they were aged five to ten years. Though more
complex than many children's books for those ages, the material interested
them; and, with a few explanations here and there, they absorbed it
gleefully. It has not been "dumbed down" to accommodate the vocabulary of
the average preteen child because the author remembers with great joy the
childhood learning of new words and facts. It should serve well for young
children if read by an adult (to offer explanations) or read alone if a
dictionary and encyclopedia are handy.
Dictionary.com and wikipedia.org
are perfectly suited.

While the book is structured as six stories, an introduction, and an epilog,
altogether it tells the story of a boy's growth through his preteen and
teenage years. The plots and characters of the stories are rich enough that
older children and young-at-heart adults can also enjoy them. Although
geographically and socially far from New York and California, the adult world
in rural Alabama of the 1950s in which the stories are set provides a richly
complex backdrop for the stories. Religion; war; adult ego, pride, and
romantic entanglements; cleverness and competition among the kids;
eccentric, visionary adults; and the very different customs of fifty years ago
fill the world of our hero.

The book does not attempt to cover every aspect of the boy's development.
The angst of learning about girls, dealing with acne, and such like seem to
have been covered adequately elsewhere. It does aim to provide an
entertaining look at a young boy's first ventures beyond his backyard, his
desire to see the wider world, and his deepest wish to travel through and
understand the grand universe of science.
Copyright 2006 James W. Wiggins.  All rights reserved.
Copyright 2006 James W. Wiggins.  All rights reserved.
Copyright  2008 James W. Wiggins.  All rights reserved.