Family Tree

Katherine Ayres, Author
Katherine Ayres, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-32227-0
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-440-41193-2
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-13074-5
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-06814-7
Paperback - 116 pages - 978-1-936495-21-4
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Tyler cringes at a sixth-grade assignment to make a family tree and write about her ancestors. She has never known any relative except her widower father, Jakob, who rarely speaks of the mother killed in a car accident with Tyler still in her womb. But with encouragement from her teacher and her best friend Casey-and help from her initially reluctant father-Tyler uncovers her history: Jakob is Amish, and was officially ""shunned"" for marrying Sarah, an ""English"" woman. Sarah's parents, disapproving of the marriage, cut off all communication with them. First-novelist Ayres delivers an intriguing plot and deftly paints a self-reliant heroine on a mission to find the truth. Tyler's struggle to understand her father's and her grandparents' actions and beliefs are palpable. But while the issues raised by the classroom family-tree assignment (e.g., America as a nation of immigrants) are presented in a way that may stir readers' imaginations, Ayres's use of neat resolutions and borderline stereotypes unfortunately renders her work a little more pat than poignant. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
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