Ives, David. 2008. Voss: How I Come To America And Am Hero Mostly.
Back of the book:
My name is Vospop Vsklzwczdztwczky. This is a name nobody can forget, because nobody can pronounce it. Donut try to pronounce me. You will only hurt yourself! In ancient Slobvian, my name means "car crash." It also sounds like car crash. So, plizz, call me Voss. A good, easy, American-sounding name! You will learn all my American experiences in the ladders I wrote to my good friend Meero. In these ladders you will also learn about my gloomy father Bogdown and my crazy uncle Shpoont and the dipp, dipp trobble I got into. Maybe from my ladders you will learn what to do. Maybe you will learn what not to do. Or maybe not? In any cases, donut do what I did. As pipple say in Slobavia: Be yourself, mostly.This is a wild and zany book. Unlike books you have probably read in the past, mostly. Voss and his family (and friends)--all illegal immigrants--are charming through and through. His experiences are recounted through letters--"ladders"--back home to his best friend. It has a lot of humor. But a good amount of heart as well. This is one of those books where you could open it to practically any page and soon be drawn into it. It's funny. It's fast-paced. It's unusual. But I like it. I more than "like" it in fact. I love it.
Here's one of my favorite passages:
She stomped back and forth up and down the street, making great noise in her Slobovian shoes. Indeed, Leena's feet stamped out the rhythm of our ancient Slobovian love ballad, "Angry Woman, Stupid Man." This is the song with the chorus, You're in the soup, you're in the soup, she's waving her iron spoon, you're in the soup and drowning. Listening to the sound of her shoes, I felt like what Americans call a heel. (55)
The book earned a starred review in Publisher's Weekly.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews