Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Middle School Pick
by Dotti Enderle
Calkins Creek, 2010
Historical fiction at its best, this novel delivers the story of drought stricken Texas in 1883. Jesse lives on a small farm with his older brother Ethan and his mom and dad. Life is tough, but the boys don't complain--it's how things are back then--work all day and go to bed dog tired every night. Crops are dying and it's tough keeping enough water for the stock and the family. Everyone is praying for a good rain.
Then when it can't get any worse, wirecutters cut barbed wire fences and use water on private land to water their cattle. Jesse's family wages war against the wirecutters. Every drop of water is precious, and the thieves need to be caught.
Ethan gets in trouble with a gambling debt and steals from the family's savings. He is disowned and kicked out of the family home. A mysterious drifter shows up and gets a job on the farm, but Jesse is suspicious of his intentions--and rightly so.
Enderle has an ear for Texas dialect and her characters come to life through dialog. Jesses says, " That devil sun..."; Ethan says, "Think those scoundrels will come back tonight?"
Quick reading. Reluctant readers will probably have no trouble with this book. Cover has appeal for young readers and Jesse will be a character they like.
Recommended grades 5-8.
FTC Disclaimer: I got this book from another librarian who received it from the publisher. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.