CROSSING THE TRESTLE by Joseph Slate

CROSSING THE TRESTLE

Age Range: 10 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This slow-moving story that, for all its unconventional elements, may not satisfy readers, stars Petey, a child with a fear of heights. In rural 1944 West Virginia, however, he has no choice but to walk across a high and narrow train trestle to get to school, and he cannot do it alone. All the members of his family are suffering: his sister, Loni, a talented artist who lost an eye a year before in the car crash that killed their father, refuses to return to school; their mother, Alita, still loves and mourns her dead husband. Stone, an artist who takes Loni under his wing, is a psychologically damaged former POW, but he is also the catalyst to pushing the family across a metaphorical trestle. Slate lightens the atmosphere considerably through Alita’s quirky, often incomprehensible language (her favorite expression is “Geeszoy!”), and the family’s journey is one of small, realistic steps: Petey copes with a bully; Alita confronts their tyrannical landlord when he accuses Stone of molesting Loni; Loni get a glass eye; Petey is thereby inspired to conquer his fear. Stone asks Alita to marry him, and the family looks forward to a new life in Seattle—a sweet ending to a story that has a lively narrative style and a loving family at its center. Patient readers will be rewarded. (Fiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7614-5053-X
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1999




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