Strawberry Hill

Mary Ann Hoberman, Author, Wendy Anderson Halperin, Illustrator , illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Little, Brown $15.99 (230p) ISBN 978-0-316-04136-2

In this old-fashioned coming-of-age story, set during the Great Depression, 10-year-old Allie's father finds a new job, and her family moves to a street called Strawberry Hill. Poet and first-time novelist Hoberman draws a full portrait of life on Strawberry Hill—where in fact there are no strawberries—as Allie agonizes over her conflicting feelings about the two other girls on her street: pretty, popular Martha, whom Allie wants as a best friend; and pudgy, sweet Mimi, who wants to be best friends with Allie. Circumstances of time and place are woven into the narrative, from details like the cost of popsicles to larger themes of poverty and prejudice. A number of Allie's friends' fathers are out of work, and Martha's best friend Cynthia calls Allie a “dirty Jew” at one point (Allie notes, “I wondered why I still wanted to be best friends with someone who still wanted to be best friends with someone like Cynthia”). Allie's plight will be utterly relatable to contemporary readers and the resolution is both satisfying and realistic. Final art not seen by PW . Ages 8–12. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/06/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
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