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MISSY VIOLET AND ME by Barbara Hathaway


by Barbara Hathaway

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 25th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-37163-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

After 11-year-old Viney’s sister Cleo is born, her parents realize that they are, once again, unable to pay the midwife’s fee. So Viney helps to pay by assisting Missy Violet, the local midwife, and there she learns about life and death. Viney’s innocent voice tells related short stories, giving this slice-of-life historical fiction its life. At first, Viney thinks babies come from tree stumps or grow in cabbage patches and that her mother’s big belly came from eating a watermelon seed. She soon learns the intriguing truth and goes on to learn all about healing herbs and teas, the kindness of strangers, and how to rely on herself when things get challenging. Hathaway’s narrative is at its best when describing Viney’s reaction to birth; it falls off a bit when the narrative feels like a vehicle to explain history. No matter, first-time author Hathaway, through Viney’s irrepressible, plainspoken voice, has a fine debut. (Fiction. 10-14)