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SHAKER BOY by Mary Lyn Ray

SHAKER BOY

By Mary Lyn Ray (Author) , Jeanette Winter (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-276921-8
Publisher: Harcourt

 A portrait of a 19th-century Shaker community, seen through the eyes of a growing boy who lives among them. When Caleb Whitcher is six, his widowed mother brings him to live among the Shakers. There he learns the Shaker ways of simplicity, hard work, and service to God. Caleb sees and hears angels, whose songs, complete with musical scores and words, are interspersed throughout the story. He comes to accept the Shaker ways and decides to spend his life among them. The illustrations are excellent and have a bold, naãve quality. The story, however, while filled with interesting factual detail about Shaker life, disappoints emotionally because Ray (Alvah and Arvilla, p. 1279, etc.) virtually ignores the fact that Caleb is abandoned by his mother in the first pages of the book. And by trying to encompass Caleb's whole lifetime--the story starts when he is six and continues until he is an old man--the book stretches its resonance too thin. Ultimately, the reader feels a void that even the admirable pictures and information can't fill. (Historical fiction/Picture book. 5-8)