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The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A…
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The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A Novel

by Don Robertson

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The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson was originally published in 1965. My 2008 HarperCollins paperback edition is 211 pages. Let me start out saying this book is a 5 and truly does belong next to other classics. It is great news that HarperCollins reprinted the two sequels so everyone can continue to follow the life of Morris Bird III, a nine-year-old boy who discovers on the day he decides to skip school in order to visit a friend what it means to have self-respect and be brave. The setting is Cleveland in 1944, culminating on the day of the great gas explosion. While I can understand those who had two issues with Robertson's writing (his use of long paragraphs and toward the end of the book, each sentence in his long paragraphs switches to a different character), personally, I didn't have a problem with either and felt that the latter help create a sense of urgency. Find a copy of this book. Rating: 5; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/


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1 vote SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
The protaganist in this story is fourth grader, Morris Bird III. Morris sets out to atone for his self-perceived crimes and restore his self-respect by completing a boyish task that will prove he is brave and willing to overcome difficulties. In the process, Morris encounters a real-life disaster and inadvertantly shows his courage and strength of character. A wonderful story that details the 1944 natural gas explosion in Ohio. ( )
1 vote JGoto | Sep 18, 2008 |
The title of this book was intriguing, since I have frequently asked people, “What was the best thing before sliced bread?” Add to that the blurbs and an author I never heard of, and I could not resist.

Don Robertson, who died in 1999, wrote about 18 novels, including three involving the same character as this one – Morris Bird III. Even though this would be considered young adult fiction today, nothing on the book cover indicates the target age group.

The first 166 pages were typical YA fiction. I was reminded of Jean Shepherd and his radio show on WOR in New York in the 60s. Many a night I lay awake listening to him recount stories of his “Old man,” Schultz, and life in Gary, Indiana in the 40s.

Then the whole tenor of the novel changed with the explosion of the East Ohio Gas Company’s natural gas tanks. I had never heard of this disaster, and a few seconds on Google revealed how accurate the narrative was.

A couple of times I almost abandoned the book, but little teasers by Robertson about the impending disaster kept me going. Once the explosion occurred, it was like the down-hill on a roller coaster – there was no getting off then. I Googled Morris’ name but nothing but the book came up. I so wanted him to be real.

I still don’t know what was the best thing before sliced bread, but I sure am glad I read this book.

--Jim, 5/24/08 ( )
2 vote rmckeown | May 24, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061452963, Paperback)

On a quiet autumn afternoon in 1944, nine-year-old Morris Bird III decides to visit a friend who lives on the other side of town. So he grabs the handle of his red wagon and, with his little sister in tow, begins an incredible pilgrimage across Cleveland . . . and out of childhood forever.

Set against the backdrop of one of the worst industrial disasters in American history, Don Robertson's enduring, beloved masterwork is a remarkable story of destiny, bravery, and responsibility, as fresh and relevant as when it first appeared in print.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:18 -0400)

"On a quiet autumn afternoon in 1944, nine-year-old Morris Bird III decides to visit a friend who lives on the other side of town. So he grabs the handle of his red wagon and, with his little sister in tow, begins an incredible pilgrimage across Cleveland ... and out of childhood forever"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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