cover image Great-Grandma Tells of Threshing Day

Great-Grandma Tells of Threshing Day

Verda Cross. Albert Whitman & Company, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-3042-9

Children love to hear stories about when their relatives were young, and Cross's tale of a Missouri harvest ritual in the early 1900s falls neatly into this genre. Laura and Robbie are bursting with anticipation as all the neighboring farmers gather to help thresh the wheat. While the men toil in the fields with the steam engine and thresher, the women lay out a magnificent noontime feast. The agreeable tone of Cross's prose reflects a genuine fondness for her subject matter. However, the laborious description of each scene becomes cumbersome; nostalgia alone is not likely to hold the attention of young readers. Owens's ( The Cat Next Door ; Good-bye, Sammy ) pastels evoke a bygone way of life with every detail: an aged threshing machine, denim overalls, dresses with print aprons, and straw hats. Unfortunately, the illustrations' overwhelming orange-pink cast proves slightly distracting. Children may pick up a few fun facts here, such as how people used to make lemonade from scratch, stuff mattresses with straw and lift doors off their hinges to use them as tables. Ages 6-11. (Sept.)