Long Ago in Oregon

Claudia Louise Lewis, Author, Joel Fontaine, Illustrator, Joan Fountain, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $11.95 (53p) ISBN 978-0-06-023839-1
Like pearls on a string, each of the poems in this volume can be treasured alone, but together they are stunning. A record of a year in the life of a little girl in Oregon at the end of World War II, the poems recall the people and places lovingly but without gloss. We see the narrator running through the ""Gobble blossoms'' in the mustard field, watching the saw ``slice through wood/ as easily/ as a knife cuts cake,'' and imagining her first long skirt. Christmas, friends, laughterall are mingled with her first awareness of hatred and of death. As touching as the poem about Miss Baldwinwho ``pushed words'' out of a boy who had never read beforeis one in which the children realize that the distant war could touch home. ``Our father, shooting and killing, and maybe/ shot down?/ We were deathly still./ Terror had moved near/ and hunched there,/ pushing/ on our door.'' Fontaine's black-and-white drawings, slightly blurred like old memories or photographs, add luster to an unforgettable book. Ages 8-12. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
Hardcover - 53 pages - 978-0-06-023840-7
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