The Elderberry Thicket

Joan T. Zeier, Author Atheneum Books $12.95 (154p) ISBN 978-0-689-31612-8
Twelve-year-old Franny's father has worked at the Coppers' farm in Wisconsin just over a year, and her poor-but-proud family has never stopped giving thanks for their deliverance from the jaws of the Depression. But family obligations force the Coppers to give his job to their ``no-good'' nephew Smokey and Franny's father leaves to search for work. Though his absence is a bitter pill to swallow, Franny keeps herself busy helping her mother and, in a well-meaning but heavy-handed subplot, teaching a dyslexic boy to read. Franny staunchly nurses a grudge against the man who usurped her father's job, but her resentment turns to admiration when Smokey performs a selfless act of heroism. Although the plot is predictable down to the pat happy ending and the characterizations lack subtlety, sturdy writing and the author's determinedly good cheer give this first novel a quiet charm. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Hardcover - 978-0-517-13355-2
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