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HUSKINGS, QUILTINGS, AND BARN RAISINGS by Victoria Sherrow

HUSKINGS, QUILTINGS, AND BARN RAISINGS

Work-Play Parties in Early America

By Victoria Sherrow (Author) , Laura LoTurco (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8027-8186-1
Publisher: Walker

 Basing her account on extensive sources such as those she lists as ``Books for Further Reading'' (an eclectic mix of books for young people, scholarly works, and periodical articles), Sherrow suggests the reasons that people gathered to help each other out and describes such events in authentic detail. Not only did the gatherings accomplish work that was beyond a single family's strength, but they afforded a chance to socialize while many hands made light work. A refreshing subtext is the sturdy sense of community and customary generosity with which these independent people took responsibility for one another--like the Vermonters who raised a new barn while the ruins of an old one, lost in a fire, were still smoking. We'd all do well to wonder how such neighborly spirit might be fostered once again. Sherrow does occasionally wander into irrelevancies and needless repetitions; and, unfortunately, while LoTurco's impressionistic b&w illustrations evoke the ambience, they are at odds with the text's admirable specificity. Though solidly designed, rather in the manner of Lloyd Bloom, they're often unrealistic--e.g., in a gravity-defying take on a barn raising. Interesting and provocative, then, but uneven. Index. (Nonfiction. 9-14)