The Hopscotch Tree

Leda Siskind, Author
Leda Siskind, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-08715-4
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-440-40959-5
Prebound-Sewn - 121 pages - 978-0-606-07661-6
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Narrator Edith Gold chirps her way through this artificial novel set during the Kennedy administration. Sure, she's scared of ``the Purple Sweater'' (aka Zandra Kott), the fifth-grade bully who picks on her for being Jewish, and she dreads ``Uh-Oh Time'' (her parents' quarrels). But she can always tell her troubles to the Hopscotch Tree, which, unlike the Softball Tree, the Tether Ball Trees, etc., nods to her, gives her its seed pods for good luck, coaches her toward a winning run in the class softball game and answers her questions. When Edith just happens to overhear her mother telling a friend all about a chance encounter with an unhappy divorcee who just happens to be Zandra's mother, she learns that Zandra is half-Jewish. With this new information Edith--inspired by the Yiddish proverb ``Better that my enemy should see good in me than I see evil in him'' and, of course, helped by the Hopscotch Tree--comes up with a plan to put an end to Zandra's hostility as well as her attacks. Siskind's messages about the nature of prejudice and overcoming it are both worthy and perceptive, but her candy-coated presentation undermines her credibility. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
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