I will do the review of the book Curiosity before going into details
about how a free review copy was mailed to me by the author’s wife via
their publishing house. I just got the book on Friday and I have to
state that I received the book free, so if you think that’s going to
bias my review…you’re absolutely right. ;) Nah, I’m kidding, I’ll do
a proper review.
Curiosity is written by Gerald Allen Wunsch and published by
AuthorHouse and comes in a paperback format. The cover of the book is
printed on full color glossy high quality cardboard. The pages of the
books are printed on acid free “pulp-like” paper, and there seems to be
some inconsistencies in the typeface (poor printing) as shown below.
That’s the most extreme example though…the fonts are mostly printed
properly, unless you look too hard.
I finished reading the book in less than an hour. It’s not meant for
my age group – Curiosity is a children’s novel. However, I did learn
something from the book. I did not know about the Underground Railroad
(upon which this book is based) and how it ties in with the American
Civil War, the slave trade and the revolution. That makes it
interesting reading – the book is based on historical accounts, so it’s
informational as well as readable.
The protagonists are two girls named Ginger Wanamaker and Irene
Fong. The book goes out of the way to introduce cultural diversity,
which isn’t a bad thing. The best thing about this book is the “Choose
your own adventure” type ending to certain chapters. This is
illustrated in the photo above – the reader can flip to the back of the
book to learn about real information.
This excerpt is about Wire Fox Terriers and contains interesting
information about these dogs. The dog in the book is based on the
author’s own dog. There are a few situations that are based around the
author’s life and some characters are based on the people around him.
My only gripe about the footnotes is that it only appears in the first
few chapters and tapers off towards the end of the book.
The content of the book is interesting – it slips themes of racial
tolerance and historical accounts in the fictional story. I imagine
that some parents would want a book like this for their children. It
manages to keep the reader interested in the adventures of the
protagonists while telling a historical narrative and indirectly
promotes cultural tolerance. The other good thing about it is that
there’s a list of web sites at the end of the book for people who wants
to read further into the Underground Railroad.
I would prefer to rate a book by the “Whether I’ll buy it or not”
criteria instead of giving arbitrary scores. Would I buy Curiosity? No,
but hear me out. It’s coz I’m not in the target audience and my reading
interests lie elsewhere. I just bought The Road of Excess: A History of
Writers on Drugs and The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of
America’s War on Drugs from Amazon, so the subject matter of books I
like is not exactly a big secret.
The better question to ask is “Would I buy Curiosity for my kids?”
I started reading at a very early age and I fully expect my children
to surpass me so I’ll recommend this for children aged 5 and below. I
hope that my progeny would understand the themes this book goes into
before that age, since children are supposed to be faster, stronger,
better than their parents and I had understood complex themes when I
was 7. I should note that the book is suggested for children aged 9 –
12 though. The Amazon list price is US$ 11.45 (RM 43.51), which is a
bit steep for Malaysians due to the currency conversion, but it’ll be
fine for countries with a more robust currency.
Thanks to Martha Wunsch and AuthorHouse [authorhouse.com] for the free review copy. Cheers to The Book Review Blog
[blogspot.com] email digest for passing along the information for
getting the free review book. I don’t know if the offer is still valid,
but here’s the email in its entirety:
From: Martha Wunsch
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 8:48 AM
Subject: [thebookreviewblog] Anyone want a free review book?
Here’s ordering information from my publisher. It’s at the top–
***For Immediate Release***
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
To request a free review copy of Curiosity:
Phone: 1-888-519-5121, Ext. 244-Leave message, or
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX: 1-812-961-1023.
(Include your street address for UPS delivery. Charlene will inform
me of your request.)
Kids Find Underground Railroad Site-
Children’s novel offers Underground Railroad terrorism in a
gentle, modern story
Ginger Wanamaker and her best friend, Irene Fong, along with
a terrier’s help, make a great discovery. Ginger’s grandparents’
home was once a station on the Underground Railroad! In Curiosity
published by AuthorHouse in July 2003 (ISBN: 1-4107-3699-7; LCCN:
2003092263), Gerald Allen Wunsch tells this adventurous children’s
story through Ginger’s eyes.
Laird, a spirited wire fox terrier, accompanies the girls
and becomes a hero in the story through his digging and exploring.
The Wanamaker’s home is an artifact of a critical movement in
American history, and, for these knowledge-thirsty young students,
it opens a door to new learning.
Irene’s parents were born in Suriname, South America. Her
ancestors were slaves. These details convey the message that
slavery existed all over the world, not just in the United States.
This multicultural emphasis in Curiosity broadens young minds. Boys
and girls will have fun reading about Ginger and Irene’s
discoveries, while learning about the Underground Railroad from a
The story text, sprinkled with “Whispers” interludes, also
links to a 30-page “More Information” section in the back of
Curiosity. Illustrations by Irene Joslin, award-winning cartoonist
for the Brown County Democrat in Nashville, Indiana, enliven the
Wunsch is a retired immigration attorney who also served in
the 1970’s as career diplomat with the U.S. State Department. His
foreign assignments included Hermosillo, Mexico, Paramaribo,
Suriname, and Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Curiosity is his first
children’s book. Since retirement, Wunsch has contributed four
articles to The Sacred Octagon, an MG sports car magazine. He lives
bordering the Hoosier National Forest with his wife Martha and their
terrier friend Laird, featured in Curiosity.
Curiosity may now be found in 34 public libraries and
schools. It is currently sold at Viewpoint Books and the Visitors
Center in Columbus, Cover to Cover Bookstore in Madison, the Levi
Coffin House in Fountain City, and Conner Prairie, the Indiana State
Museum, and the Indiana Historical Society in the Indianapolis area–
12 independent bookstores in all. On-line it may be purchased from
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Walmart, and many other on-line
booksellers. You can order Curiosity at any Barnes & Noble or
Borders mall bookstore or directly from our supply at home
Here is a roundup of a few Curiosity events. On September
23, Bud Shippee of Seymour’s WQKC-WZZB (93.7FM; 1390AM) interviewed
Jerry during his “Breakfast Club.” The next day Patty Spitler
interviewed Laird and Jerry on Indianapolis’s CBS affiliate, Channel
8, during the News8 at Noon show. The canine/author duo appeared
again at the Jackson County Public Library November 15 for a
children’s program on the Underground Railroad followed by Laird’s
clicker tricks and a book signing, the third such public library
program. They presented a program on the writing process at
Cortland Elementary School before 120 children November 21. Jerry
and Laird were also at the Indiana Historical Society’s Holiday
Author Fair on December 7 and are planning eight Underground
Railroad programs at public libraries and schools in February. They
recently finished a program at St. Ambrose Elementary February 2
before 4th, 5th, and 6th graders and with 500 children February 13
at East Side Elementary. Five other elementary schools have
requested their appearance before the end of the 2003-4 school
year. Also, look for them at the Conner Prairietown Market April 24.
For interview requests, contact Laird for his tricks and Gerald
Wunsch, 10019 North State Road #135, Freetown, Indiana, 47235-
8517,or call (812) 497-0067, or e-mail email@example.com.
For further description and photos:
Until April 24th: http://www.connerprairie.org/Events/gaWunsch.asp
http://www.1stbooks.com/ & www.amazon.com
(type in “Gerald Allen Wunsch”-Curiosity)