Leaving Fletchville Reviews
"Tremendous fun to read... truly heartwarming." (CBC Radio's All Points West 2009/02/01)
"The kind of book that might well appeal to boys who are having trouble in school, but trying to find other ways to make a difference in the world. The author's simple, unadorned style makes it a good choice for reluctant readers." (School Library Journal, U.S.A.)
"A fine read. The plot unfolds episodically but smoothly - with both action and humour...The real strength is Brandon's completely authentic voice." (Canadian Children's Book News 2008/12/01)
"With his debut novel, René Schmidt gives voice to the children who fall through the cracks, whose struggles go unnoticed, whose responsibilities deprive them of the luxuries of childhood...An engaging read that teachers will love to discuss with their students. Recommended." (Canadian Review of Materials Magazine 2009/02/01)
"A novel about growing up and putting others first. The characters are both endearing and realistic." (Resource Links Canada)
"In his funny and touching novel, Schmidt thoughtfully crafts characters to whom readers will relate. The book's tone is frank when dealing with serious issues yet retains a certain innocence."(VOYA - Voice of Youth Advocates, Bowie MD.USA )
"A rewarding story credibly anchored in the realism of school procedures established by the author... Highly recommended." (The Bookmark - British Columbia Teacher-Librarians Association)
Review - School Library Journal U.S.A.
“Grade 7–9—Eighth-grader Brandon Clifford has the reputation of being a troublemaker in school, but he's something of a knight-errant. He befriends the only black family in the small town of Kingsville, Ontario, helps to evacuate a wrecked train, and stands up to the class bully. When he finds out that Leon, Winnie, and Sam George have managed to stay together only by concealing from the authorities that they are parentless, Brandon helps them to keep their secret and even gets a job so that he can anonymously give them money. When their situation finally comes to light, Brandon attempts to help them evade Children's Aid workers, but they are eventually apprehended. All ends well, however, as the family court makes an exception and allows the children to remain together, with supervision and government assistance. While some incidents are not well-integrated into the plot and there is a certain glorification of adolescent male violence, this first novel has a lot going for it. It is the kind of book that might well appeal to boys who are having trouble in school, but trying to find other ways to make a difference in the world. The author's simple, unadorned style makes it a good choice for reluctant readers”.
(Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT)
Canadian Disasters Reviews (various editions)
"Schmidt does an excellent job of making these incidents come alive... [the book] will be devoured by young readers who are, like most of the human race, fascinated by disaster." —Canadian Review of Materials - CM Magazine, 2007 Manitoba Library Association
“From shipwrecks to mine explosions and from tornadoes to Arctic airplane crashes, Rene Schmidt’s book describes some of Canada’s worst disasters - and explains how some people survived and tried to help others.’ (North Perth Public Library review)
“When I was a kid, one of my favourite books was Canadian Disasters… I must have read it dozens of times… I loved every gory, tragic, pathos-filled page of that slim little book…” Blogcritic review of A Crack at the Edge of The World, by Simon Winchester Feb. 08, 2006
“Many books about disasters merely present the facts, making for a dry read. Schmidt, however, has taken his work to another level, he not only provides detailed information but also brings to life the people involved in these disasters… a great read for students and adults alike.” Newfoundland Herald Review, August 1999
“…brief and precise historical and geographical background to each disaster leads the young reader quickly into the action of the story… Schmidt never resorts to blood and gore and sensationalism. Rather he presents the details in a graphic style that helps the reader understand exactly what happened. Canadian Disasters belongs on all Canadian school library shelves… ” British Columbia Library Association, July 1986,
“Short, Informative and quite readable: should pique the reader’s interest to locate more information on these tragic but fascinating events…” The Reviewing Librarian, 1986
“Many teachers will welcome this straightforward yet dynamic entry into a history lesson. It will also be a useful resource for projects. However, it also will be devoured by young readers who are, like most of the human race, fascinated by disaster.” Highly Recommended. CM Magazine, Manitoba Library Association
“The author tells these poignant stories in a vivid manner suitable for the younger reader. I can’t think of another source that has these events grouped together for this age level… Mary Oliver, R.H. McGregor, Teacher-Librarians, East York, December 1986
Rene's books are funny and insightful. He writes for young readers with intelligent interesting material in a very engaging manner. His school story "Leaving Fletchville" is a sweet detective novel set in a small Ontario town. In an eighth grade class of students reaching toward adulthood, self-described tough guy Brandon helps his friends who are already dealing with grown-up problems. David L. Lee, M.D.