Book Review: War and Watermelon


Author: Rich Wallace

Publisher: Viking, 2011

Genre: Children’s/Middle Readers

Source: From the publisher for the TLC Book Tour

My Rating: C+


It’s the summer of 1969. We’ve just landed on the moon, the Vietnam War is heating up, the Mets are beginning their famous World Series run, and Woodstock is rocking upstate New York. Down in New Jersey, twelve-year-old Brody is mostly concerned with the top ten hits on the radio and how much playing time he’ll get on the football team. But when he goes along for the ride to Woodstock with his older brother and sees the mass of humanity there, he starts to wake up to the world around him-a world that could take away the brother he loves. (From the publisher)

My Thoughts:

War and Watermelon read like a daily journal. Each chapter was another day. The days/chapters were filled with the activities of a twelve-year-old boy about to start seventh grade. He lived in a suburban town so he had free rein to roam around quite a bit. However, most of his days were filled with trips to the pool, football practice, or listening to his AM-only radio.

The chapter I enjoyed the most was the trip to upstate-New York to see a concert, which turnws out to be the famous Woodstock. They went for just the first night. So many people came that there was no place to park other than in the midst of all the other traffic on the highway. People abandoned their cars and walked for miles to get in. In spite of the rain and mud, Brody, his brother, and two friends had an amazing time. They loved Joan Baez who closed the show that night.

Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with the story. For me, it didn’t go anywhere. It’s probably just me. I think War and Watermelon would be a good story for grandfathers and their grandsons. It would be a great way for grandsons to understand what life was like in 1969.

Actually, granddaughters might enjoy it too. War and Watermelon would make a nice nostalgic trip for those of you who have fond memories of this era.

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my copy of this book. Please check HERE for other stops on the tour and other points of view.

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6 Responses to Book Review: War and Watermelon

  1. Doesn’t sound like a book I would like, but I’m glad there are books coming out to try to get kids coming up now to know what the sixties were like!

  2. I had high hopes for this book, so I’m disappointed you didn’t like it more.

  3. It feels like I was gone so much more than two weeks. I’m so glad to be back. Sorry this one didn’t work for you. I don’t think it’s really up my alley either. Though I do like the idea of a nostalgic look back for kids to get an idea of the time period.

  4. Annie says:

    Too bad ! The title seems so good ! I don’t like when I read a book and don’t like it ! I wonder always why….

  5. Staci says:

    Thanks for your review of this one. I’m not sure if I would purchase it for my library shelves or not. Boys are strange creatures!!!

  6. I’m sorry that this one wasn’t your cup of tea but I think you’re right that grandfathers and grandsons might enjoy reading this one together.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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