LONG AGO IN OREGON by Claudia Lewis


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The summer of 1917, when there was war far away in Europe, provides the backdrop for this gentle poetry. Though similar to Rylant's Waiting to Waltz, this has greater nostalgia for a more gracious era. Little hints of out-dated attitudes (e.g., religious prejudice and the hiding of death from children) make it clear that each age has its good and bad points, but this is a lovely portrait of a happy childhood, with its own pleasures and puzzles for the spirit. Perhaps the most touching is ""Not in a Hundred Years,"" in which a fourth-grade boy suddenly catches on to reading, leaving the teacher with tears in her eyes. The poetry is quietly rhythmical free verse, with short phrases and brief stanzas. The soft black-and-white pencil sketches, full-page and vignette, match the tone and setting of the poems, giving the impression of shadowy memories and faded family photographs. This little book is pleasant to read as poetry and also offers a glimpse into an earlier America that could be useful for social-studies classes.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1987
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Harper & Row