HUCKLEBERRY HILL: Child Life in Old New England by Elizabeth Gemming

HUCKLEBERRY HILL: Child Life in Old New England

Email this review


Huckleberry Hill is prototypical rather than a specific place and Old New England, not datelined in the book, is apparently as seen early in the 19th century. What's offered here is a description of the doings of each season, and the choice is quite discerning: winter is the season for wasting sickness as well as socializing, spring the time for Muster Day or militia training, which not everyone took seriously, fall meant hunting for deer and moose, also for passenger-pigeons, trapped fifty or more at a time. As a corrective to juvenile euphoria, this performs a real service but the style -- simple expository sentences which become monotonous en masse -- will deter many readers. And Mrs. Gemming tends to generalize as if everyone not only acted but responded the same way, even the animals, as in this description of a Summer Sabbath: ""The birds put on a Sunday air and the cows did not seem to low from hill to hill as on other days."" Contemporary art and artifacts provide a pleasant accompaniment although Tunis-type illustrations would have been more useful. In sum, a supplement to such standards as Earle and, yes, Tunis, well-indexed for access to the many homemaking, farming, trading, entertainment topics, also to school and church and the nascent city.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1968
Publisher: Crowell