cover image The Farm Summer 1942

The Farm Summer 1942

Donald Hall / Author, Barry Moser / Illustrator Dial Books $15

While his parents are involved with ``the war effort,'' nine-year-old Peter spends the summer of 1942 at his grandparents' farm in New Hampshire, where he rakes hay, tends chickens and feeds sugar lumps to a horse named Lady Ghost. Although both text and illustrations brim with specific period details--Peter hears Gabriel Heatter on the radio, rides a DC-3 coast-to-coast in 16 hours, eats two chocolate-covered cherries bought for one penny--the book contains almost no dialogue and little action. Unlike Jane Yolen and Leslie Baker's Honkers or George Shannon and Thomas B. Allen's Climbing Kansas Mountains , two recent picture books in which story and historic or regional settings seem effortlessly intertwined, Hall's ( The Ox-Cart Man ) tale of Peter's separation from his parents seems almost incidental to the collection of nostalgic details. The author's meandering reminiscences of time past are outshined by the deft watercolors. Although Moser's compositions are not more animated than the narrative, they have a depth of characterization that lends the volume emotional heft. Ages 6-10. (May)