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LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. Schmidt Kirkus Star

LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY

By Gary D. Schmidt

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: May 24th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-43929-3
Publisher: Clarion

The year is 1912, and Turner Buckminster III has a mighty cross to bear: his family has just moved from Boston to Phippsburg, Maine; no one in Maine seems to throw a baseball so he can hit it; and, worst of all, he is the minister’s son. His misery is just about complete until he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, an African-American girl from nearby Malaga Island, who teaches him how to hit a Maine baseball and doesn’t hold his parentage against him. But the tide is turning against Malaga Island, a settlement of some 50-plus outcasts, very poor and mostly black: the good elders of Phippsburg want to replace the failing ship-building industry with tourism, and the collective eyesore that is the Malaga community will just have to go. Schmidt takes his time with his tale, spinning gloriously figurative language that brilliantly evokes both place and emotion. Turner himself is a wonderfully rich character, his moral and intellectual growth developing naturally from the boy the reader first meets. There can be no happy ending to this story, but the telling is both beautiful and emotionally honest, both funny and piercingly sad. (Fiction. 11+)