The Betsy-Tacy Treasury
August 31, 2016
The Trumpeter of Krakow
August 31, 2016

Banner in the Sky

Quick Glance



This is the total number of incidents in this 288 page book.

*As personal standards vary, please see the breakdown to determine what matters to you.

Author: James Ramsey Ullman
Key Words: Fiction, Newbery Honor, Boys, Mountaineering

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Book Description:

The Citadel, it stands unconquered, the last great summit of the Alps. Only one man has ever dared to approach the top, and that man died in his pursuit. He was Josef Matt, Rudi Matt's father.

At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father's life. And so, taking his father's red shirt as a flag, he heads off to face the earth's most challenging peak. But before Rudi can reach the top, he must pass through the forbidden Fortress, the gaping chasm in the high reaches of teh Citadel where his father met his end. Rudi has followed Josef's footsteps as far as they will take him. Now he must search deep within himself to find the strength for the final ascent to the summit -- to plant his banner in the sky.

His father died while trying to climb Switzerland's greatest mountain -- the Citadel -- and young Rudi knows he must make the assault himself.


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Children's Bad Words

Mild Obscenities and Substitutions - 10 Incidents

stupidity, damned, stupid, rot

Name Calling - 24 Incidents

angel face, plate scraper, lumpen, fool, lout, show off, big mouth, faker, boaster, coward, sheep liar, chickens, coward, madman

Religious Profanity - 3 Incidents

by God, Mother of God, For the Love of All God

Religious & Supernatural - 9 Incidents

A "shrine" and the "Virgin" are mentioned.

Demons are mentioned.

"There are some things, ... that God intended for men; and there are some things that he did not. He did not intend men to swim the oceans, or to reach the center of the earth, or to fly. And he did not intend them to clinb the Citadel. The citadel He is keeping for Himself, untouched - forever. And I do not believe, ... that men should set themselves against the will of God."

Shrine is mentioned and a boy prays there.

A boy, when caught in a lie, repents and asks Jesus and "loving Mary" to forgive him, stating that he is "wicked".

Demons are mentioned, as well as men "crossing themselves" in religious ceremony.

Demons and Heaven are discussed.

Ghosts: "the presence that had followed him all that day... the ghosts, the demons of the forbidden mountain crowding down upon him from the haunted heights. And among them, leading them, one ghost - the most terrible ghost ..." he then discovers it is the ghost of his father. He is comforted by this and speaks with him.

There is a question about whether there are demons/spirits/ghosts on the mountain.

Violence - None

Romance Related - 1 Incident

It is noted that a boy is "naked... except for his shoes, stocking and underpants." Not sexual.

Attitudes/Disobedience - 16 Incidents

A boy is described as playing "truant from school - even from church," running out on the job, and not caring that it causes his mother "tears."

A boy asks someone not to tell anyone that he came to visit, noting that his parents would be mad.

Lying: a man lies to cover for a boy not being at work.

A boy is called on a lie, and continues to lie.

A man lies to a mother about what her son is really doing (so she won't worry).

Lying: a boy says he's not tired but he really is.

A boy's lie "caught up with him."

"Not a result of conscious choice or decision, it was simply what he had to do," describing the boys defiance to his mother and disobedience.

Defiance and disobedience

When a man finds out that a boy lied, he smiles for a minute, but then gets serious about the effects of the lie.

An uncle discusses how his nephew disobeyed, defied, thieved, connived, lied. A man then tell him that he and his mother drove the boy to it.

A man discusses how he was lied to by the boy, but that the boy "meant no harm" and only did "what he had to do".

"Right and wrong did not matter. Nothing in all the world mattered, except that he must go."

"You lied to me."

A mother says that it isn't wrong that her son lied to her, but that she was wrong for "making" the son lie.

Conversation Topics - 1 Incident

Beer, wine, pipes and brandy are mentioned.

Parent Takeaway

Not many good character qualities are exhibited by the main character. In fact, whenever there is lying, or inappropriate behavior, it is dismissed or even explained in a positive light. "It was simply what he had to do" was used to justify his actions. Only at the very end, does the boy do the right thing. It's a great story of mountaineering, so perhaps for older kids or for younger but with a parent discussion.

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