GRAPE THIEF by Kristine L. Franklin
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 10 & up
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Twelve-year-old Slava Petrovich is growing up in a multiethnic community in Washington State in 1925. Beyond his ability to swear in 14 languages, and thus his nickname, “Cuss,” Slava is a top student about to enter the seventh grade, the farthest anyone in his family has ever gone to school. But with the mines laying off, his brothers having fled the town under mysterious circumstances, and with no money coming in, Slava feels the pressure to leave school and find work. His friends, Perks and Skinny, share his plan of jumping the grape train out of town toward freedom and work. Franklin’s story, woven around bits of family history, is a beautiful recreation of a community of Croatian, Italian, Swedish, and other ethnic groups becoming American. A fine historical novel with lively dialogue and plenty of excitement in the form of murders, mobsters, accidents, disease, and a family struggling to survive. A good match with Holm’s Our Only May Amelia. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1325-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2003


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