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DOWN IN THE PINEY WOODS by Ethel Footman Smothers

DOWN IN THE PINEY WOODS

By Ethel Footman Smothers

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-80360-2
Publisher: Knopf

 Annie Rye Footman, ten, has no use for her three older half- sisters, especially after they join her Georgia sharecropper family permanently, but in time she learns to take her Grandma's advice to ``bear along wit each other.'' This first novel, based on the author's childhood in the 50's, is rich in vividly felt moments: the pleasure of buying candy at the ``rolling store''; the frustration of turning the other cheek to racist remarks and intimidation; Annie Rye's terror when snakes invade the house; her simple glee at buying a present for her heroic, hard-working father. Annie Rye and seven- year-old Brother are bright, lively characters (``Brother, look where you going.'' ``I is. You just in my way''). The rest of the cast is sketchy, and the plot takes a contrived turn near the end when Annie Rye's father literally turns away from an angry bigot with a pitchfork to rescue the man's daughter from a well. Nonetheless, Smothers explores the value of strong family bonds- -and Annie Rye's reluctant but ultimately wholehearted acceptance of her new sibs--with some insight. A promising debut. (Fiction. 11-13)