Whistle in the Dark

Susan Hill Long. Holiday House, $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2839-7
Long, the author of several early readers, reaches out to older children in this dignified and supple middle-grade story. In 1920s Leadanna, Mo., bookish 13-year-old Clem Harding is yanked out of school to work in the local lead mines. Clem dreads the prospect of sharing the depressing fate of his grandfather, who continues to suffer from mining-related illnesses: "There was nothing about the mine that would ever change Clem's first impression: it was a busy little hell straight out of the Bible." While Clem fantasizes about escaping the mine, his reality is stark: his family is poor, and his younger sister's epilepsy is a constant worry. Circumstances begin to appear less bleak when he adopts a stray dog and befriends an optimistic outsider named Lindy who sells moonshine with her dangerous father. Long writes with modest restraint, never drifting into sentimentality or overpowering the story with historical details, while remaining squarely centered in the story's time and place. The novel sings with graceful recurring motifs, true emotions, and devastating observations about the beauty that can be found in the darkest hours. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Show other formats
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-8234-3006-2
Open Ebook - 186 pages - 978-1-299-75901-5
Paperback - 181 pages - 978-0-8234-3191-5
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.