BIRCH INTERVAL by Joanna Crawford
Kirkus Star


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Birch Interval spans about a year in young Jesse's life, a year when she is going on 11 and sent to her grandfather's in the Amish country. And in scenes which, probably not since Mockingbird, capture some of the make-believe and ritual of childhood, defenseless against the abrasive reality of growing up, this focuses on the clash of innocence and experience. Here on the farm with her grandmother and grandfather, her Uncle Thomas and Aunt Marie, and her three cousins, Sharon, Esther and Samuel, 9, esse learns that life ""is just a bit of eiderdown and a bit of mealy apple."" There is all the private pretense of the witch in the woods (Mrs. Tanner, who knows how to spell people), and the crazy girl next door, and the Wallenpaupacks in the trees; then there are the forbidden games of boys and girls; but primarily this is the story of the time when Uncle Thomas is taken away to die in a state sanitarium, while Aunt Marie carries the child of another man, and when Samuel too, is sent off to a corrective home... A first novel, the landscape here is executed with fine brushwork and the patches of description have a very fresh quality- as does Jesse... A lovely book, hard to find, easy to overlook.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1964
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin