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TAKING CARE OF MOSES by Barbara O’Connor


by Barbara O’Connor

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-38038-4
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Randall, 11, is harboring a secret. Exposing the identity of an abandoned baby’s mother might not only place this mother of six in jail but also might interrupt the home life of Mr. Avery, who is desperately trying to keep his elderly, confused wife from being taken to a nursing home. Speaking up would confirm Randall’s witnessing both the abandonment and Queenie Avery’s wandering in town in her night clothes. His silence, however, begins to torment him as the weeks go by and this mixed-race South Carolina town argues over the proper solution to the baby’s care. O’Connor has written a well-developed, intriguing short novel with a suspenseful clue-filled story line proposing an ethical dilemma that will keep readers wanting to know the outcome. Randall’s best friend and his bratty younger sister provide realistic comic-relief dialogue and child-oriented actions and behavior. Parallel adult roles offer a mature outlook to Randall’s clandestine moral questions as he debates and eventually has the “grits and gumption” necessary to do what’s right. Good premise and delivery make this a thought-provoking choice for discussion. (Fiction. 8-10)