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Flingo

Small Steps

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Rescued Thread

 

Flingo 13th October 2006, 07:02 PM

 

Small Steps is the sequel to Holes. It tells the story of Armpit and X-Ray as they adjust to being back in a "normal" life. Armpit is working for a garden landscaper (he did like digging holes!) while studying for his high school diploma, and X-Ray is just trying to earn a quick buck where he can. Throw in a famous popstar, and a hilarious string of events is about to unfold.

 

Told with all the same warmth and wit as Holes, this is a read-in-one-sitting story. You really get to know Armpit so much more than from the earlier novel - although some of the details about his sweat problem you may not wish to know!

 

Sachar is obviously making his living from his back catalogue and the Marvin Redpost series he has written for younger readers, and as a result he can put more thought into his more "serious" literature. Small Steps is certainly of a high quality for plotting, style and narrative and through the popstar he can also fit some poetry in in the form of song lyrics.

 

Momo 14th October 2006, 09:27 PM

 

I read this book a while ago as a follow-up to Holes. I picked it up simply because it was in the house (my younger son read it) but really enjoyed it. The story is told just as well as Holes and even though it revolves around a different character in quite a different setting, it reminds you of that novel.

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I never thought about comparing them. But I see your point. Small steps is more in the ordinary world, as well, so maybe more believable.

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Small steps and Holes are compltly diffrent books so its easy not to compare them. However at the same point if you look at x rays life in small steps you begin to understand why he was the way he was in holes.

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That's what I liked about Small Steps. It answered so many questions you didn't ask while reading Holes. ;) No, honestly, a lot of things just became clear after reading Small Steps. I would recommend this to anybody who read the first book.

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I agree Small Steps does stand alone, although they complement each other so well. I did feel a little that it was written and published to tie in with the film release (but maybe not quite so much as Stanley Yelnat's Survival Guide to Camp Greenlake!), but it is a good book.

 

Just out of interest - are there any other characters that you would like to see get their own book? I think I'd quite like to know what happened to Twitch.

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Good question, Flingo. I think I wouldn't mind a book on any single one of the major characters but maybe mostly about "Zero".

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i think if they make a book about other charters the book my start losing there indenty. i dont this louis sachar would do it, I met him at the austin book festival and hes a really nice man. very quiet i doubt he would overuse the charters

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Well, late to this discussion, but I really enjoyed Small Steps.

It's about 18 years since I read Holes, but I must have a lingering soft spot for the characters, as I was quite anxious for Armpit when he and X-Ray were buying the tickets, I was sure that he would lose all his money. And of course, again later when he was being questioned by the police, and when El Genius was framing him for the planned murder of Kaira.

Of course, my fears were nonsense - Armpit was the hero, he would be OK in the end.

 

And he was OK in the end - back on solid ground and taking more small steps to achieve his goals.. I was so glad that, this time, the ends were not all neatly tied together,  and that there were possibilities still to be explored.

A lovely book - made me feel good!

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  • Similar Content

    • By Flingo
      Rescued Thread When Bill has caught up with some things, please can we have the forum for this back, and then get it moved? Cheers!



      Flingo 8th June 2006 11:06 PM

      I thought in Bill's absense we could start a couple of threads about Holes here and have the discussion that so many people are keen to do before we forget what we want to say. It should be able to be moved once the new board is open, shouldn't it?

      So what are people's first impressions? I know some people have finished it - but please remember anyone could call in here, so spoiler if necessary!

      I really enjoyed Holes. My children's librarian mentor has been urging me to read this for ages but I had never got round to it, and am now really disappointed that I left it so long!

      It's really clever, although it takes a bit to understand where all the threads of the story are going.

      The writing is so easy to read, and you feel drawn in almost immediately. I could felt the heat of Camp Green Lake radiating out of the book - a huge acheivement!



      megustaleer 8th June 2006 11:34 PM

      I read it some years ago, and loved it. I really don't know why it has not been a bigger hit as a 'crossover' book. I thought that the way all those plot threads were neatly tied up was just so satisfying, and so clever!

      Have just checked my reading list, and it is six years since I read it, and I can still remember quite a lot of it; it really made an impression!



      katrina 9th June 2006 06:02 PM

      Hey, this is my second read of this book in a year, as I had to read it at the start of my PGCE course, its a really popular keystage 3 yext. I prefered it this time around, the first time I was annoyed by it, but I can't remember why now.

      Thought the writing was good, and the sense of the lake and the heat were well depicted.



      Momo 9th June 2006 06:20 PM

      I can well imagine that it's six years since Meg read it. My oldest son read it when he was a year younger than my youngest one is now and he is five years older. It had just come out otherwise he would have done it earlier as my younger one has.
      Anyway, even though both my boys had read it, I never did so myself. Somehow it always seemed like a book for little boys. So, I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't that at all. (We even have the DVD and I never watched that either!)
      I will recommend this book to anyone. It's a quick read, yet very interesting and there is a lot in this. More than last month's read.



      katrina 10th June 2006 08:30 AM

      I was wondering if anybody had watched the film version of the book, if I have time this week I'm going to borrow it from school and take a peak at it, I've heard its quite a good adaptation



      Flingo 10th June 2006 10:45 AM

      I picked it up on Wednesday, and will be watching it tomorrow.

      I think we ought to have a thread about the film in this section, so that we can discuss comparisons and similarities? Whoever watches it first can start that!



      megustaleer 16th June 2006 08:56 AM

      belweb says on another thread that she thought the plot was full of holes! I beg to differ! The thing that I like about this book is that there are no 'holes', everything is all neatly sewn up at the end!

      Admittedly a lot of the connections are contrived, but I thought that was part of the humour of the book. My reactions were along the lines of 'Well I Never!! and 'Who'd've Thought It!' , and I thought it was all very cleverly brought to a satisfying (if not necessarily satisfactory) conclusion.

      I wouldn't have accepted the neat conclusion in a serious adult novel, but 'Horses for Courses', eh? And there's plenty of food for thought in there, too.

      The book probably suffered from being read in the middle of reading for an Eng. Lit. degree. I'm sure it wouldn't stand comparison to the other books occupying belwebb's thoughts.



      Momo 16th June 2006 01:45 PM

      I don't know either what kind of holes belwebb saw in this novel. As Meg already mentions, and we all should consider this, this is a children's book. We cannot expect deep meanings that you will only understand after studying English Lit.



      belwebb 16th June 2006 05:28 PM
       
       
       
      Yes, you've made some valid points. However, when you say 'contrived' I think that's the word I should have used - it was incredibly contrived, but then, like you say, I was in the middle of an English lit course!



      elfstar 16th June 2006 06:38 PM

      I enjoyed this book, it had a nice 'roundness' to it,there was no unhappy or unresolvesd ending for the protagonist, the characters were not as deep as they could have been but it is a childrens book and a such it was very acceptable



      donnae 19th June 2006 11:17 PM

      I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the story of the past was neatly interlinked with Stanley's story. Contrived maybe, but very enjoyable still. At least it ties up a lot more ends than last month's read!
       


      As this was a children's story, I liked the manner in which the anti-racialism was dealt with, not too heavy-handed. There were some obvious morals going on in the book, but they didn't overshadow the story.

      There is a sequel to Holes called Small Steps. This follows the lives of Armpit and Xray.

      Holes is a book I will be encouraging my children to read - I think they will all enjoy it. One of my daughters has watched the film and enjoyed it. Flingo, have you watched it yet?



      Adrian 20th June 2006 01:50 AM

      I was thinking the same thing, donnae. It's pretty obvious when you read it.



      megustaleer 20th June 2006 09:34 PM

      Because it is a children's book, and apparantly a straightforward account of Stanley's misadventures, perhaps there is a tendency to whiz through it without picking up the clues?

      Once you know how it all fits together, of course, a lot of it was clearly hinted at in advance.

      Hindsight's a wonderful thing!



      Adrian 20th June 2006 09:52 PM

      I certainly did that, not giving the book its due respect and racing through it. I'll have to re-read it, or maybe listen to the audio version.



      Flingo 23rd June 2006 08:47 PM
       
      I did watch it - though it was really nicely done. Louis Sachar actually wrote the screenplay, which I think helped keeping it true to the book.

      Recommend watching it if you enjoyed the book.
       
    • By Flingo
      Flingo 9th June 2006 10:52 PM

      I've been thinking about holes and their relevance. Does anyone else think the holes in the lake bed symbolise more than physical holes?

      All the characters had something missing from their lives, something major that could make / have made everything fantastic.




      Leading on from this to the ending:



      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      katrina 10th June 2006 08:37 AM
      I was wondering about the symbolism whilst I read the book, particuarly in relation to America and kids lives. Have yet to come up with a satisfying answer that isn't too obvious, I think there is more going on with this book than just what is presented at surface level. I didn't pick up on this the first read at all.

      'Zero' is obviously a blank which needs filling, a non-entity but as a character he seems the most rounded (no pun intended). The other characters seemed to be hiding behind the roles created by their nicknames. Zero is also the only character not accepted and intigrated into the group
    • By Flingo
      Rescued Thread - Poll lost

      Flingo 30th June 2006 06:25 PM

      Well we are nearly in July, and despite a lot of people reading Holes there has been little discussion really. So those that did read, or start, what did you really think?

      Vote above!

      katrina 2nd July 2006 12:56 PM

      I enjoyed the book but as I had read it before fairly recently it was too fresh in my mind to really enjoy it. On the discussion side of things I thought that maybe as a book group read for adults it didn't offer enoughscope for discussion, maybe we could have picked a book with more about it, I felt it was too straight forward to really create a grippig discussion.

      I was alsos moving during this read so wasn't on the internet much, will have broadband setup this week so i will be able to participate inthe next read. When do we start voting for that? I thought we were going to pick the themes for the next six months as well but that never seemed to come about.
    • By Flingo
      Flingo 11th June 2006 09:39 PM



      The nicknames used by the boys in Camp Green Lake was another point I was going to pick up on.

      I found Stanley's nickname, Caveman, quite hard to understand.

      The boys nicknames are mostly taken from a characteristic that they have displayed - Barfbag (obvious even though we never meet him!), X-ray (not because he has great vision, but because it is pig latin for his real name Rex), Twitch (because he does!).

      Although Stanley's nickname seems at odds at first, he fits the role more as he develops through the book.

      Does anyone have any other opinions about the nicknames, or maybe a deeper understanding of them from a second read of the book?

      belwebb 16th June 2006 08:28 AM
       

      I read Holes during the second year of studying for my English lit degree, which meant that I had high expectations of it because I had so many other book to read. I was disappointed. Greatly. It was all just too uncredible, amateurish, and well, full of holes!! I passed it onto my younger sister and she was of the same opinion. Maybe it should stay with the youngster's??

      megustaleer 16th June 2006 08:29 AM

      Stanley did, too. I've had another look at that passage, and can't see the reason for it. I wonder what 'they' think of as a caveman's characteristics? Should we be thinking 'Flintstones', or something more primitive?

      Momo 16th June 2006 01:44 PM

      Maybe it was the way he was digging? That's the only explanation I came up with.
       
    • By Momo
      Stanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake - Louis Sachar - 2003
       
      My son had this book and I read it after we read Holes as a group read. It is a funny little book for children who might not want to read too much at one time or who are not that much into fiction. Also for children who have read Holes.
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