THE VICTORY GARDEN by Lee Kochenderfer


Age Range: 9 - 12
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Eleven-year-old Theresa Marks and her father are in friendly competition with their neighbor, Mr. Burt, over their tomato crops. Theresa understands that the battle to produce the best tomato is meant to be a distraction from more serious matters: WWII is in full gear and Theresa’s brother Jeff is an Air Corps pilot. But planting a victory garden is more than a diversion; it is also a patriotic duty. So when Mr. Burt is injured in an accident and can no longer tend his huge garden, Theresa enlists her classmates in a campaign to weed, water, harvest, and sell the produce. Theresa has her hands full keeping her friends motivated to do the hard work of gardening, worrying about her brother, and dealing with Billy Riggs, the combative class outcast. Theresa and her friends and family must face the cruel consequences of war in ways that hit increasingly close to home, but there is never any doubt about the necessity of sacrifice for a just cause. It may interest young people to read about a time when America was engaged in a war in which every child had either a brother, a father, or a neighbor doing battle and when kids could be enticed into back-breaking work for the sake of patriotism and an ice cream cone. While first-time author Kochenderfer’s characters seem impossibly earnest and optimistic, not to mention corny with exclamations of “hot diggety,” this is an engaging read. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-32788-9
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2001