Gr. 4-6. When her family moves to their New Mexico homestead in 1911, 10-year-old Dora begins her formal education in a two-room schoolhouse. Determined to make up for lost time, she works hard to catch up with the other children. During the year, she discovers a love of learning, earns the respect and affection of her teacher, and finds satisfaction as well as frustration in the midst of a large, loving family. Some aspects of the story--for instance, the motif of quilt making--make this seem like the cozy sort of historical novel, but the plot is also gritty. Central to the story is Dora's befriending of a classmate and losing her to an attack of appendicitis. The circumstances of the child's death, the preparations for her funeral, and the aftermath of guilt are presented with honesty and directness. Episodes such as this share space with other incidents, leavened with the off-the-wall humor of family stories: readers won't soon forget the community-wide contest to swat and collect the most flies. Vivid and occasionally touching. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Joy N. Hulme is the author of Through the Open Door
and several children's picture books, including Bubble Trouble. Climbing the Rainbow,
a continuation of Through the Open Door,
is based on the true experiences of a girl who grew up on a homestead farm in New Mexico in the early 1900s. Late in her life, she and Joy Hulme became acquainted as members of the same church in California. As they visited together and the real-life Dora shared the memories of her childhood with her new friend, they discovered they had much in common. Joy Hulme and her husband, Mel, live in Monte Sereno, California.