Title: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Narrator: William Dufris
ISBN: 9780739372326
Pages: 224 pages
Discs: 4 CDs, 5 hours 1 minute
Publisher/Date: The Blue Sky Press, c2009.

My name is Homer P. Figg, and these are my true adventures. I mean to write them down, every one, including all the heroes and cowards, and the saints and the scalawags, and them stained with the blood of innocents, and them touched by glory, and them that was lifted into Heaven, and them that went to the Other Place.
I say my “true” adventures because I told a fib to a writer once, who went and put it in the newspaper about me and my big brother, Harold, winning the battle at Gettysburg, and how we shot each other dead but lived to tell the tale. That’s partly true, about winning the battle, but most ways it’s a lie.
Telling the truth don’t come easy to me, but I will try, even if old Truth ain’t nearly as useful as a fib sometimes. (7)

Orphaned Homer P. Figg is cared for by his seventeen-year-old brother Harold and his mean and nasty Uncle Squinton, who Homer thinks of like he would “think of a rabid skunk, or scabs on my backside, or a bad toothache.” (8) In fact, Harold makes Squint so mad, Squint lies about his age and forces him to enlist in the Union Army to fight the Civil War. Homer heads off to find his brother, certain that Harold is going to get killed in battle. Along the way, he meets a Quaker abolitionist who’s part of the Underground Railroad, joins a suspicious medicine show, and participates in one of the largest battles of the Civil War.

First, I need to continue to rave about the narration, which is done by William Dufris. It’s EXCELLENT! Dufris is truly the epitome of narration at it’s best. The sheer range of his different voices for each and ever character is highly impressive. From the childish frustrated squeak of Homer’s “I want to go with Harold!” to the booming, almost god-like voice of Quaker abolitionist Mr. Brewster, from the sniveling, non-to-bright Mr. Willow to the commanding con man Professor Fleabottom, he nails them all.

And what a wonderful cast of characters this book contains. Rodman Philbrick details Homer’s journey in an authentic voice, with rambling interludes of past adventures accompanying the embelishments of present events. Although I’m not entirely sold on the cover drawing done by David Shannon, the Newbery Honor Book sticker on it is well deserved in my opinion. The innocence, brotherly concern, and exagerrated bravado that Homer shows seems well balanced. Homer’s brother Harold is a conflicted character, saddled with the responsibility of taking care of Homer at an early age, a responsibility that he’s never desired. Even the secondary characters have their own back stories and seem well developed.

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