Little John and Plutie

Pat Edwards, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $13.45 (172p) ISBN 978-0-395-48223-0
When Little John's father gets drunk in a bar and loses his savings, John and his mother abruptly move to town to live with Gran. John longs for his parents to reunite and worries that he, like his father, will never ``make a go of things.'' Still, his troubles are smaller than those of his ebullient friend Plutie, whose brother was killed on a chain gang. It seems incredible to John that their friendship should have to end someday because Plutie is black and he is white. Set in 1897, this book shares the sympathetic view of impoverished Southern whites depicted in Edwards's acclaimed Nelda . It has a dancing colloquial style, a deep understanding of childhood fears, and a loveable pair of heroes. The story's climax, in which Plutie is whipped by several white men, is too muted (the action occurs offstage); but otherwise Edwards deals forthrightly with the contradictions of bigotry and the suffering it causes. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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