Connie Jordan Green, Author, Anna Green, Author, Bob Crofut, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $13.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-689-50556-0
This grittily unsentimental depiction of life in a 1920s Appalachian coal mining town--before labor unions, OSHA regulations and child labor laws--offers modern readers plenty to reflect upon. With Pa Mourfield bitterly keeping to his bed after being crippled in a mine accident, the days are an endless round of chores for 11-year-old Emmy and her four siblings as they help Ma care for boarders. When Gene, 14, becomes a miner to enable the family to stay in their company-owned house, Pa sinks into deeper despair, after angrily breaking the beloved banjo that he can't play one-handed. Another mine accident becomes the catalyst for him to emerge from his slough of self-pity, rejoin the family and even offer to teach Emmy to play the instrument she had repaired. Green ( The War at Home ) refrains from editorializing and, in letting her characters speak for themselves, deftly shows how a brave and loving spirit can empower and ennoble the otherwise humble and downtrodden. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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