GETTING TO KNOW NEW ENGLAND by Elizabeth Gemming

GETTING TO KNOW NEW ENGLAND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like Mrs. Gemming's entree to ""Child Life in Old New England,"" Huckleberry Hill (1968) -- and unlike many of its predecessors in the series -- this is a sensible, fluent amalgam of interesting detail and outstanding features. The opening is a hearty evocation of Old Home Days and ways, and overmuch is made, perhaps, of purported Yankee traits, but descriptive matter forms, and freshens, the bulk of the book. (History figures little, and that erratically: the Puritans are intolerant but there are no witch trials; King Philip is portrayed sympathetically but black slavery is ignored.) Agriculture leads off, embracing not only dairying, poultry and egg production, orchardry and truck farming but also such specialty crops as Vermont's maple syrup, Cape Cod's cranberries, Maine's potatoes and Connecticut's tobacco -- each of which is brought home via specifics of cultivation and harvesting; also child-keyed is identification of the sign that welcomes visitors. So with the fishing industry, where nothing is lost sight of -- not even the sardine scales whose silvery surface, we learn, frosts lipstick while the ground scale powder, mixed with air and water, makes a foam that smothers fires. Nonetheless, New England today ""is mainly a manufacturing region""; although the textile and shoe industries have declined (reasons given), the production of quality goods flourishes and is here surveyed state by state. Then it's on to the very big tourist business, the attractions of seacoast and islands, mountains and lakes and distinctive towns, with a sampling of cities too. And there's some background, not just a boost, for everything from covered bridges to the Berkshire Festival. The concluding pages on signs of change and problems to be solved are sufficiently full and frank to provide some perspective. It's agreeable and reputable both.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1971
Publisher: Coward-McCann