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Step by Wicked Step [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Anne Fine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1996
Gathered together during one long, stormy night, five youngsters spend their time relating stories about their different families--feuding parents, off-the-wall sister, new stepmother--and learn valuable lessons about family, relationships, and personal identity.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In classic thriller fashion, it is a wild and stormy night when five British schoolchildren arrive ahead of their classmates for a week-long field trip at "haunted" Old Harwick Hall. With the aid of flashes of lightning, the two girls and three boys find a long-abandoned secret room containing a mysterious journal. All signs point to a ghost story, but Fine (Alias Madame Doubtfire; Flour Babies) adroitly sidesteps the obvious. The story recounted in the journal, about a boy who runs away from the sinister influence of a loveless stepfather, inspires the five students, all of whom also have "steps," or step-parents, to share their own sagas. And what engrossing, heartrending stories they are: of hurting but still humorous kids picking their way through a minefield of embittered or uncommunicative-or just plain immature-parents, insecure or reluctant stepparents and resentful step-siblings. Fine has an uncanny gift for dialogue, and her protagonists voice subtle perceptions in the clearest and most natural of terms. She wrests the fullest emotions from her scenarios, presenting daily life in all its comedy and drama. An immensely humane work. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7?The tantalizing title and eerie opening will immediately pull readers into this skillfully crafted story. In fact, this novel is really five stories within a story that are induced by a story, like a nesting puzzle. When five school kids are sent ahead to a class overnight in a spooky house, they discover a hidden tower room that contains an old, dusty album, written by Richard Clayton Harwick, labeled "Read and weep." As they read Richard's sad tale of how he made the decision to leave home because of his dislike for his stepfather, it triggers the realization of why the five of them were grouped together. Their names were asterisked on the bus list because each one had to put two addresses on the permission slip for the trip; each of them has divorced or remarried parents. As Rob, Colin, Ralph, Claudia, and Pixie tell their stories, comprehension and compassion for the problems, fears, and concerns children face in similar family situations today fall into place step-by-step, story-by-story. These kids are genuine, their stories are poignant, and the book as a whole is affecting without being maudlin, didactic, or bibliotherapeutic. "Fine" writing and a surefire success, like the author's earlier efforts.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read April 6 2001
By Alaria
Format:Paperback
Read and Weep, says the spidery writing on the cover of the book. Read and Weep. When five children become stranded in the haunted towers of Old Harwick Hall, they uncover the story of Richard Clayton Harwick, a boy who knew what it meant to have a truly wicked stepfather. As the lightning flashes, the children begin to relate their own tales of step parents, stories that are full of warmth and humour, yet with a fair share of sadness.
At first it seems the children could have nothing in common. Sports-mad Robbo, quick-witted Ralph, sensible Claudia, fiery Pixie and dreamy Colin seem as different to each other as it is possible to be. Yet they soon find they have one thing in common, and that is that they are all the products of broken homes.
Having read several of Anne Fine's books, I would have to say I think this is the best. The lack of plot is of no consequence as the books main purpose is as a forum for the various stories. "Step By Wicked Step" proves that all pain eventually heals and that we have the power to change things for the better.
I found I could relate to the children, as although I have never had to cope with a stepfamily, my mother is a single parent. Colin's story I found especially moving, having never known my father.
I first read this book when I was nine years old, and still enjoy it even today. A combination of interesting characters, moving stories and the powerful, disturbing tale of Richard Clayton Harwick combine to make this an immensely enjoyable read.
"Step by Wicked Step" is a tale that is both funny and moving. It is the perfect read for any children whose parents have separated, or any child who has to cope with a step-parent or step-family. Even for those who aren't in that situation, the book is an absorbing read that will make you both laugh and cry.
If you enjoyed "Step by wicked Step", I would recommend "The Tulip Touch" by the same author, which is a powerful, disturbing read.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Truth To Face May 10 2000
Format:Hardcover
May 26, 2000
How many people are brave enough to tell you their story? Ralph (one of the children in the novel) was practically beginning now. "How many chances do you get to peer into someone else's life?" And with those few words, the five children gathered around a mysterious old diary are in for most unusual evening making it a night of stories, stories told by themselves. The author, Anne Fine, wrote this novel with a great insight and humor about the profound effect of divorce and remarriage on children. She shows how the children in her novel like all children of divorce believe that their are the only ones with stories like theirs. She also shows how in telling their stories , the children begin to face an important truth; to start to fix things out as Ralph (one of the boys in the novel): "They have to make an effort." Empowering to children of divorce illuminating to all, this special novel reveals the strength in divided families does indeed often come from the children. I read this book in my Modern Literature class and I did a report about it, in my Senior year. This is a good book for all those children who are in the same situation as the children in the novel, and for all people. This novel showed me how the children of divorce become to suffer with their parents situation (problems). I am not a daughter of divorce parents, but I have some friends that they do. They suffer because they want their both parents together. I really enjoyed reading this book although as I just said that I am not in that situation.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Making it work after the Divorce. Sept. 24 1999
Format:Hardcover
As a developmental psychologist this is the by far the best children's book I have come across dealing with the aftermath of divorce and remarriage. You get to see the differing perspectives of five children who had to handle their emotions across a variety of situations including accepting Dad's new girlfriend, missing a father figure who was left without a word, and adapting to multiple marriages, step-siblings, half siblings and the like. I would recommend this book for middle grade children whose families are going through the process of divorce, and I strongly recommend that divorcing or remarrying parents read it as well in order to see how crazy it can be for children when their parents are not taking responsibility for the changes they are making. I especially liked how the characters helped each other in the story by confessing their own rotten behavior at times and offering the support and sympathy they didn't always receive at home.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars It's very mysterious book Feb. 9 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The book STEP BY WICKED STEP is a great book. It's about five kids, and two teachers, and they take a field trip. They find mysterious things. This book will make you feel like your really in the story, it's kind of creepy. I don't want to give to much away, but I think it's a good idea to read this book to a class. I know they will enjoy it, I know I did.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read April 6 2001
By Alaria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Read and Weep, says the spidery writing on the cover of the book. Read and Weep. When five children become stranded in the haunted towers of Old Harwick Hall, they uncover the story of Richard Clayton Harwick, a boy who knew what it meant to have a truly wicked stepfather. As the lightning flashes, the children begin to relate their own tales of step parents, stories that are full of warmth and humour, yet with a fair share of sadness.
At first it seems the children could have nothing in common. Sports-mad Robbo, quick-witted Ralph, sensible Claudia, fiery Pixie and dreamy Colin seem as different to each other as it is possible to be. Yet they soon find they have one thing in common, and that is that they are all the products of broken homes.
Having read several of Anne Fine's books, I would have to say I think this is the best. The lack of plot is of no consequence as the books main purpose is as a forum for the various stories. "Step By Wicked Step" proves that all pain eventually heals and that we have the power to change things for the better.
I found I could relate to the children, as although I have never had to cope with a stepfamily, my mother is a single parent. Colin's story I found especially moving, having never known my father.
I first read this book when I was nine years old, and still enjoy it even today. A combination of interesting characters, moving stories and the powerful, disturbing tale of Richard Clayton Harwick combine to make this an immensely enjoyable read.
"Step by Wicked Step" is a tale that is both funny and moving. It is the perfect read for any children whose parents have separated, or any child who has to cope with a step-parent or step-family. Even for those who aren't in that situation, the book is an absorbing read that will make you both laugh and cry.
If you enjoyed "Step by wicked Step", I would recommend "The Tulip Touch" by the same author, which is a powerful, disturbing read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's very mysterious book Feb. 9 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book STEP BY WICKED STEP is a great book. It's about five kids, and two teachers, and they take a field trip. They find mysterious things. This book will make you feel like your really in the story, it's kind of creepy. I don't want to give to much away, but I think it's a good idea to read this book to a class. I know they will enjoy it, I know I did.
2.0 out of 5 stars Anne Fine has Better Nov. 29 2002
By Linda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I know people will kill me for this but I really did not like this novel very much.Sure Anne Fine is brilliant but I looked forward to reaching the last page.The dialogue between step kids and their step parents seems realistic and theres no doubt Anne Fine is real clever and has admittedly done a terrific job of this novel.I however also found it dragged,in other words I was bored,plus the constant arguments and emotional pain within was..well,painful.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Truth To Face May 10 2000
By Mariela Mendoza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
May 26, 2000
How many people are brave enough to tell you their story? Ralph (one of the children in the novel) was practically beginning now. "How many chances do you get to peer into someone else's life?" And with those few words, the five children gathered around a mysterious old diary are in for most unusual evening making it a night of stories, stories told by themselves. The author, Anne Fine, wrote this novel with a great insight and humor about the profound effect of divorce and remarriage on children. She shows how the children in her novel like all children of divorce believe that their are the only ones with stories like theirs. She also shows how in telling their stories , the children begin to face an important truth; to start to fix things out as Ralph (one of the boys in the novel): "They have to make an effort." Empowering to children of divorce illuminating to all, this special novel reveals the strength in divided families does indeed often come from the children. I read this book in my Modern Literature class and I did a report about it, in my Senior year. This is a good book for all those children who are in the same situation as the children in the novel, and for all people. This novel showed me how the children of divorce become to suffer with their parents situation (problems). I am not a daughter of divorce parents, but I have some friends that they do. They suffer because they want their both parents together. I really enjoyed reading this book although as I just said that I am not in that situation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Making it work after the Divorce. Sept. 24 1999
By Janice Lawry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a developmental psychologist this is the by far the best children's book I have come across dealing with the aftermath of divorce and remarriage. You get to see the differing perspectives of five children who had to handle their emotions across a variety of situations including accepting Dad's new girlfriend, missing a father figure who was left without a word, and adapting to multiple marriages, step-siblings, half siblings and the like. I would recommend this book for middle grade children whose families are going through the process of divorce, and I strongly recommend that divorcing or remarrying parents read it as well in order to see how crazy it can be for children when their parents are not taking responsibility for the changes they are making. I especially liked how the characters helped each other in the story by confessing their own rotten behavior at times and offering the support and sympathy they didn't always receive at home.
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