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A Small White Scar by K. A. Nuzum

A Small White Scar

by K. A. Nuzum

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Narrated by Steven Boyer. 1920s. Will is 15 years old and looking forward to a future as a rodeo star. But he feels stifled by his responsibility to look after his twin brother Denny who is mentally disabled. Will has always been Denny's protector but as he's grown older, he wants to spread his wings and be free of his father's demands and Denny's needs. Will defies his father and takes off at night for a nearby rodeo, determined to participate and get hired by a ranch. But Denny tracks him down. A near miss with a flash flood and a rattlesnake that bites Denny forces Will to seek help from a doctor who knows his father. Will does well at the rodeo but suffers a concussion. His father realizes what Will needs and offers him more decision-making responsibility at the ranch. Meanwhile, Denny has
found his own independence, staying with the doctor to do tasks and
cleaning. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Nuzum, K.A. A Small White Scar. Joanna Cotler Books, 2006. This is a beautifully written story about a 15 year old cowboy named Will who has a twin brother with Down Syndrome. It takes place during the 1940's on a ranch. Since the death of their mother, Will has been expected to look after his brother. As young boys they were close and grew up doing everything together. But Will is tired of playing nursemaid to his brother and wants to prove he is a man by competing in the Rodeo. His father doesn't want him to. So Will has to decide what he will do to prove himself to his father. He struggles with his love and commitment to his brother but wants his freedom. I loved this book. It is a touching story about what it means to be a man and about what are some of the sacrifices that must be made to prove that. It is also about the loyalty Will and his bother, Denny, have for each other. Will begins to realize that his father knew that as twins they were closer than anyone else on the ranch they owned. Together they could learn from each other and deal with the death of their mother. This novel reveals the internal struggles within family members who have someone in their life with Down Syndrome. It's very descriptive and well versed. It is also adventurous. I enjoyed reading this and I would use this as a read aloud for my students. Age group: 13 and up. ( )
  zeebreez | Feb 24, 2012 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 4-6

Plot Summary: Will lives on a ranch with his father and twin brother, who has the mental capacity of a 4 year old. Feeling stuck taking care of his brother after his mother drowned, Will is sour about not being able to do the manly things at his ranch. He plans to go to the rodeo, make some money, get an offer to work at another ranch, and leave his brother behind. But instead, his brother follows him.

Setting: 1930's, west

Will - 15 years
Denny - 15 years
Deep - Will's horse
Scooty - Denny's horse
Doc Sidder - Will's father's friend

Recurring Themes: family, cowboy, ranchers, rodeo, independence, special needs, mental retardation

Controversial Issues: none

Personal Thoughts: When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a boy book about cowboys. Instead, I found an enjoyable read about a special needs kid. It was a quick read, with a little bit of adventure for the boys (crossing the river and the rodeo), and a lot of family drama for the girls.

Read alikes: Al Capone Does My Shirts
  pigeonlover | Aug 4, 2009 |
Fifteen-year-old Will Bennon leaves his family and begins life as a cowboy, but his mentally retarded twin brother follows him and joins the journey. ( )
  prkcs | Feb 19, 2009 |
Ever since Will's mom died, Will's been the one to look out for his feeble-minded twin brother Denny, but at fifteen Will has had enough. He's leaving his dad's ranch. He's leaving Denny behind. He's going to La Junta by himself and he's going to win first place at the rodeo and get a job with another ranch. He's going to start his own life. Finally. But when Will leaves for the rodeo, Denny tags along. And Denny gets in trouble. And Will has to save him. Again. How can Will hope to have his own life if he's constantly stuck with Denny?

Set in Colorado in 1940, this is a great western adventure story complete with roaring rivers, rattlesnakes, bull riding, and more. Will's a conflicted main character - trapped between finding his own happiness and fulfilling his familial responsibility. It's not an easy place to be and Will doesn't have an easy time of it. I'd hand this to kids who like adventures and westerns.

Full review on my blog:
http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-review-small-white-scar.html ( )
  abbylibrarian | Feb 15, 2009 |
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It was close to midnight. The crickets sang loud and steady. The July air was so hot and heavy it made me sweat just to push each breath from my lungs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060756411, Paperback)

Dreams always have a price

Will can see his future stretch out before him. It's as clear as the plains that lead to La Junta and the first-place winnings at the rodeo. He will become a man, a cowboy with a life of his own. But his twin brother, Denny, follows, bringing with him the memory of that small white scar. Ahead lies adventure; behind, responsibility. And on the road between, Will and Denny will travel together—brothers united by blood.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-old Will Bennon leaves his family and begins life as a cowboy, but his mentally retarded twin brother follows him and joins the journey.

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