LETTERS TO MISSY VIOLET by Barbara Hathaway

LETTERS TO MISSY VIOLET

Age Range: 6 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

This Depression-era gem, a follow-up to Hathaway’s debut (Missy Violet & Me, 2008), offers a child's-eye view on America’s racial inequities.

Like its predecessor, the novel utilizes the epistolary format with minimal narration. Viewed primarily through the lens of young Viney, the letters feel real, as though discovered in an old cigar box. Viney updates Missy Violet, a midwife traveling to care for a sick relative, on everything from the sour disposition of her schoolteacher to a fearful encounter in the woods with the Ku Klux Klan, from the hilarious wedding of a homely spinster to the courtship of a curmudgeonly codger called “Som Grit” with the honest simplicity of one who has lived these events. Missy Violet's responses are measured and reassuring. Hathaway’s tone never surpasses a child’s reckoning, allowing readers to respond to its gentleness and the authenticity of its voices. She imbues delicate little passages with more love than a Valentine and weaves difficult bits of history into everyday life, reminding readers that America was born from hard times and that its people continue to develop roses amid thorns.

Like a warm cup of alphabet soup, this offering packs several essential ingredients—hope, love, despair, courage, family, honor—into a hearty, child-size blend. (Historical fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-36300-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2011




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenBRO by Robert Newton Peck
by Robert Newton Peck
ChildrenBUTTON DOWN by Anne Ylvisaker
by Anne Ylvisaker
ChildrenBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE by Kate DiCamillo
by Kate DiCamillo