THE TIN HEART by Karen Ackerman


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In a stronger historical story than Araminta's Paint Box (p. 43/C-1), Ackerman portrays a friendship that endures despite the tensions of the Civil War. Mahaley Hutchison's father runs a ferry from the Ohio River's north shore; Flora Scotchman's father, who keeps a store on the Kentucky side, commemorates the girls' friendship with a tin heart snipped in two (each may then wear half as a pendant). Tensions mount, however, as Hutchison ferries refugees in both directions, forcing a rift between the fathers; still, when Mahaley, hoping to glimpse her friend, sneaks a ride during the ferrying of escaped slaves and is left behind, Scotchman's manner is amicable as he sends her home--though, sadly, he doesn't speak to her father. This simple, satisfying story serves admirably to dramatize the Civil War's tragic divisions among friends and families. Hays' sweeping painterly style and minimal detail provide a generalized background that lends the story universality; with careful composition, an unusual, judicious use of color, and an ability to capture drama, this fine young illustrator's work continues to grow more interesting with each book.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1990
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum