Across the Creek

Marya Smith, Author Arcade Publishing $13.95 (164p) ISBN 978-1-55970-041-2
After his mother dies, 12-year-old Rye is sent to live with his grandmother until his father sends for him. Isolated from other children, with his grandmother always busy on some committee, Rye is alone in his grief. In exploring the family homestead, he discovers the creek that figured so prominently in his mother's tales of her girlhood. On the opposite shore, he meets a mysterious girl in old-fashioned clothing, whose presence is strangely comforting. Subsequent meetings convince Rye that she is his mother, returned from the past to ease his loneliness. But Rye's happy dream is shattered when school starts and he sees the girl in the ``special'' class. Furious, he destroys the structure they built at the creek and stonily ignores her on the school bus. But by the time he rejoins his father, Rye has come to appreciate the girl for her real--rather than imaginary--qualities, which brings his mother's presence all the closer. In tender, spare prose, this first novel movingly conveys the grief and longing that give rise to the protagonist's romantic fantasy. Kudos to Smith for realistically resolving what could have become just another sentimental fairy tale. Ages 11-up. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Genre: Children's
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