Nothing much has to happen to intent Hannah of The Whistling Teakettle (1977) and Carnival and Kopek (1979) to keep her...

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HANNAH IS A PALINDROME

Nothing much has to happen to intent Hannah of The Whistling Teakettle (1977) and Carnival and Kopek (1979) to keep her happily occupied, and the reader with her; but in this latest installment a promising something has happened--Hannah's impulsive father has persuaded her prudent mother to buy a little roadside restaurant in the next town along the Hudson. Hannah's father is sure he can devise a way from the hillside cellar into the house (he does--a trap door); Hannah's mother is determined to plant a garden, however steep the slope (when Hannah hears the story of ""Mollie's tree,"" she'll understand why); Hannah herself is ecstatic--the owner not only threw in a player piano, there's a rolltop desk and a soda-box besides. (For those not around in 1932, a soda-box is. a kind of cooler--you put the bottles in warm on one side and they come out cold on the other.) Plus a pair of French doors that don't go anywhere (until Hannah's father builds a porch) and railroad tracks just below the house--so Hannah can listen for the train at night and imagine herself ""Home-safe !"" before she goes to sleep. But in addition to the unaccustomed everyday delights that Hannah savors (along with opportunities to play waitress), there are real crises: Halloween, when ""stinkers"" Otto and Frankie go home, and best-friend Aggie gets a bellyache, and Hannah forces herself to go up the mountain to the waiting old couple's house alone (""It was a promise""); and, more horrible and wonderful still, the day Miss Pepper goes out of the classroom, leaving Hannah--finally--to preside as monitor. . . and the kids make a ruckus yelling ""Hannah is a palindrome"" (which Miss P. has written on the blackboard) until Hannah looks up the word and writes ""Otto is a palindrome"" too. Natural, rich, and very warming--in sharp contrast to the run of empty, over-plotted books.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 1981

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1981