by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Scheer (By the Light of the Captured Moon, p. 265, etc.) does a fine job conveying a sense of the ties that bind us to a place, in this case the back hills of Virginia. As remembered by the boy, he and his mother go to live with his granddad on his farm. Granddad is getting on and his daughter wants to keep an eye on him. It is hard for the boy to leave his school and his friends, but simply put, he knows that what he is doing is the right thing. It doesn’t take long before he enters into the elemental rhythms of farm life and indeed comes to like it. Early one morning, Granddad invites the boy to go turkey hunting with him. It is a Faulknerian moment, charged with the import of conduct and place. Tom eludes the hunters that morning, and all the mornings right up to Thanksgiving. The mother announces that she has saved enough pennies to buy a turkey, but Granddad and the boy have one more go. This time the turkey does come into view, a great old bird, its beard long enough to touch the ground. The boy is ready to acquit himself when Granddad stands up and frightens the bird off. It doesn’t take the boy long to put two and two together: that bird has been in the wooded hills as long as Granddad. The boy remembers that a store-bought bird never tasted so good, especially when he sees the serene look on his grandfather’s face. Himler’s (The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh, p. 261, etc.) watercolors catch the smoky quality of the hills in all their luminescence, and Scheer is equally adept at evoking the sacredness of life and land. A lovely memory. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1674-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2001


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