1/5/2010 by Katharine Boling


Age Range: 10 - 13
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In a braided narrative about twin girls told in two first-person voices, Pauline and Arlene, 10, have an angry relationship. Pauline works at the cotton mill, and Arlene, with a crippled foot, stays at home to take care of the household tasks, including washing the family’s work-stained clothing. Each believes the other has the easier life, although nothing is easy for these child laborers. Boling shows the hard conditions in the mill’s dawn-to-dusk day and work is never finished at home. Two accidents cause the girls to begin to understand each other: Pauline damages her leg and Arlene must help the local granny woman deliver a new baby in a difficult birth. The counterpoint of the girls’ attitudes and the description of daily life in a mill should be of interest to sympathetic readers who will be relieved when the girls begin to be friends. Easy to read, thanks to the concise text, short chapters, large print, and wide leading. (Historical fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-15-205119-8
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2004