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In this quietly told story by the Carnegie Medalist (author of Thunder and Lightnings and Handles), Amy is forced to get to know her new stepfather, from whom she has been keeping a polite distance. When her mother and baby sister are called away on an emergency, Amy is left behind with Richard, who is almost a stranger to her. Although Richard seems, to the reader, to be a perfectly nice, concerned stepfather, Amy sees him as crass, a bit dense, and not nearly as dignified nor as talented as her late father. Although it is the middle of the school term, Richard, a truckdriver, takes Amy along with him on his usual five-day hauling job, since he can't afford to lose a week's pay. During their time together, Amy's preconceptions of Richard are shattered, as are her preconceptions of the harsh, unknown north of England, which Amy imagines as dirty, industrial, and generally ""foreign."" Amy comes away from the experience less afraid, more self-reliant, and with a new appreciation of Richard, whom she finds interesting, sensitive, and knowledgeable, although still not like her natural father. Anyone who enjoys the English countryside will enjoy this gentle story of a girl traveling through it on a journey of self-discovery. But American children may not have the patience to motor through the many unknown British towns with Amy and Richard. The story is replete with regional references and Britishisms, some but not all of which are explained in a glossary at the back of the book. A charmingly told story, but rough going for American readers.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
Publisher: Atheneum