cover image Littlejim's Dreams

Littlejim's Dreams

Gloria Houston. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201509-1

In this continuation of Houston's (Littlejim) saga about an Appalachian boy, Littlejim's dreams go far beyond the Creek. Inspired by Jules Verne's books and by a worldly-wise visitor from Philadelphia, the 13-year-old wants to be an airship pilot some day, but his father expects him to follow family tradition and learn the logging trade. As Littlejim struggles with decisions about his future while trying to prove himself a man to stoic Bigjim, other troubles arise--first the protagonist's mother grows seriously ill, then Bigjim's land is stripped of its most precious trees by swindling prospectors. Once again Littlejim's ability to put his thoughts on paper proves to be his most valuable weapon: a letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Inquirer not only brings powerful attorneys to Bigjim's aid but also clears misconceptions about ""hill-billie"" ignorance. This account of Littlejim's initiation into manhood captures the dialect, values and work ethic of self-sufficient mountain people faced with change during the early 1920s. If the characters and neatly packaged resolutions are too reminiscent of a Waltons episode for some tastes, many readers will savor the book's local color and down-home flavor. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)