cover image Grasshopper Summer

Grasshopper Summer

Ann Warren Turner. MacMillan Publishing Company, $14.95 (166pp) ISBN 978-0-02-789511-7

After the Civil War, Sam's father decides that he's had enough of the overworked Kentucky bottomland that he has farmed for his in-laws. He takes his family by wagon to the Dakota Territory, where land is as cheap as the cost of settling it. Sam can't get accustomed to the big sky in Nebraska, but he and his brother Billy gradually learn to like their new surroundings. It is only when a swarm of grasshoppers drops out of the sky and devours their first crop that Sam realizes that although his own family is staying on, the price of settling a new land, for some folks, is just too high. Turner deftly balances tranquil scenes (the family's pitching in to build the sod house) with terrifying ones (the grasshoppers eat anything green, even the green stripes of a woman's dress--while she is still wearing it). This is a solid piece of writing--a sturdy blend of action, adventure and thoughtfulness that will appeal to both boys and girls. Ages 8-12. (May)