Hits and a Miss

Sep 19, 2023 by Rose O'Keefe

This past Sunday was one of the nicest summer days we’ve had. The sun was out, the breeze just right and not only did I putter in the yard, I read and napped my way through the paper, and later The Whipping Boy, Sid Fleishman’s 1987 Newbery Award winner. The characters were great: a mean Prince Brat, his likable fall guy Jemmy, villains Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater, peddlers and local folk. The ending made me laugh out loud.

After finishing Dear Mr. Henshaw, Beverly Cleary’s 1984 Newbery Award winner, I couldn’t help but admire Leigh Botts who wrote to a famous author as a third grader and over the years, scolded him, argued with him, and worked through the pain of his parents’ divorce, missing his truck-driver dad,  and school hassles. After finishing it, I couldn’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if had learned to get things off my chest like Leigh.

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan was the 1986 award winner. This satisfying story told of a young woman who traveled from Maine to the mid-west on trial as a possible wife to a widowed father and his two children. Another good one! I gave up on The Hero and the Crown, the 1985 award-winner by Robin McKinley. Too many odd words and names to keep track of.

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