RED-DIRT JESSIE by Anna Myers

RED-DIRT JESSIE

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Like Patricia Pendergraft at her best, Myers draws readers into intensely evoked realms of folk just trying to get by, crafting what contentment they have out of red dirt and weeds. Little sister Patsy has just been buried, and, while Jessie's whole family mourns, her father has retreated far into himself and doesn't look to be coming back. Jessie, her small brother, and their mother shoulder extra chores, but their livelihood in Oklahoma is so meager that Papa's withdrawal threatens them all. After her aunt and uncle head for land-of-plenty California, Jessie focuses on coaxing Ring, an old dog that hung around their place, to be her pet, saving food from her scant supper to feed him and risking his potential viciousness when he's wounded. Getting Papa back and transforming Ring are so entwined in Jessie's mind that when she faces a truly wild dog and Papa rescues her it is a surprising but perfect outcome--she has, indeed, made him accountable to his living family once again. Myers writes with rare understanding of a young girl's highs and lows; Jessie's great hopes for Ring are as authentic as her sorrow over Patsy, and her inability to give up on her father after the adults have written him off is tenaciously childlike. The simplicity of language goes right to the heart; Myers is a new talent to watch. (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8027-8172-1
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992




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