To Come and Go Like Magic
byKatie Pickard Fawcett
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
In this stirring series of vignettes, readers meet Chili Sue Mahoney, a twelve-year old girl from the hills of Kentucky. Set in the 1970s, much of the story revolves around Chili's family, the poor down the hill, and the rich mine owners. There is some discussion of race relations and VISTAS who come to help the poor and oppressed in the hills. Chili's world is dominated by rather provocative and strong adults: her father who hates the VISTAS and thinks the poor are poor because they are lazy and unlucky, Chili's strange uncle who comes to live with them, her pregnant older sister who is a bit of a mystery and an eccentric older neighbor who comes to substitute teach at her school.
It is this lady, Miss Matlock, who teaches Chili of a wonderful world outside of Mercy Hill, Kentucky. A world full of rain forests and monkeys and colorful butterflies that "come and go like magic." Chili realizes her ticket out of Appalachia is an education.
The author, Katie Pickard Fawcett. writes with authority and love--originally from Appalachia, she became a social worker in the community.
Easy to read, wonderful little slices of a time gone by, To Come and Go Like Magic is the perfect read for anyone who dreams of a bigger world out there full of adventure and romance.
Recommended for collections--grades 6-8.