The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers by Avi

Published by Candlewick


Summary:  What is the most important thing a father (or grandfather) can give his son?  Avi ponders this question in a collection of seven short stories about boys whose fathers (or grandfathers) are married, divorced, dead, distant, loving, know-it-all, clueless, proud, disappointed, or more than one of the above.  Ranging from the poignant (a beloved father unexpectedly dies the afternoon of a fishing trip to his son) to the appalling (Damon discovers on his once-a-month visit that his divorced dad has remarried and has a new baby on the way…all since his previous visit) to the humorous (Ryan devises a screening and application process when a man wants to marry his widowed mother), these stories explore many aspects of the parent-child relationship.  224 pages; grades 5-7.

Pros:  This would be a perfect book for a parent-child book discussion group.  With so many different stories and characters, there is much to look at and consider.

Cons:  The first story, in which an estranged grandfather heals his decades-old war wounds by talking non-stop to his newly-acquainted grandson, seems to be resolved too quickly and easily.

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