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Hannah of Fairfield: Pioneer Daughters #1 Paperback – August 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-The encroaching effects of the Revolutionary War are being felt more and more by the Perley family of Fairfield, CT, in the spring of 1777. Hannah, nearly nine, is worried that her beloved brother will defy their father and run away to war and is also struggling to master the tasks (knitting, spinning, and embroidery) expected of her. Her desire to meet her family's expectations coupled with minor resentment of the female conventions of the day is something that any child can relate to and brings Hannah to life for young readers. The resolution of events brings closure yet leaves room for the projected sequels in what is planned to be a trilogy. Short sentences, relatively easy vocabulary, and large type together with an age-appropriate protagonist mark this as a transitional chapter book. Diamond's finely detailed artwork expertly helps to set the scene and identify the characters. A solid entry by an amazingly versatile author.
Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 3^-5. The first of a projected trilogy about nine-year-old Hannah Perley and her family during the Revolutionary War in Fairfield, Connecticut, this simply written docu-novel will give middle-grade readers a strong sense of what it was like to be a young girl then. As the war gets closer, Hannah's older brother cannot wait to be a soldier in General Washington's army; finally, his father gives his permission, and the family prepares to send him off. The focus is more on the domestic scene than the battlefield, and much of the story is about Hannah's chores in the fields and kitchen, including details about what the family ate and how they cooked it. There's a subplot about Hannah's struggle with traditional women's work--she would rather be working with the animals in the barn than at her knitting--but her late grandmother's work as midwife to the community is an inspiring model. In the moving climax, Hannah is part of the loving family's work to spin the thread, weave the cloth, and sew a shirt and breeches for her beloved brother to wear to war. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 0430 (What's this?)
  • Series: Pioneer Daughters (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141304995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141304991
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean Van Leeuwen is the author of more than fifty children's books, including picture books, Easy-to-Read books, and middle-grade fiction. She has won numerous awards, among them the William Allen White Award, the South Carolina Children's Book Award, the Massachusetts Honor Book Award, and the Washington Irving Children's Choice Award, as well as many ALA Notable Book citations. Her popular Oliver and Amanda Pig Easy-to-Read series was called "timeless as the truths of childhood" by the New York Times. Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day was a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Her own two children were the inspiration for the Oliver and Amanda Pig stories, as well as several others, including Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life. Many of her other books have grown out of her long-time interest in American history. Her historical picture books include Going West, which was cited as an IRA Teachers' Choice and Across the Wide Dark Sea, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing." She has written historical fiction for older readers as well. Her Bound for Oregon was a Child Study Association Book of the Year, and Cabin on Trouble Creek was nominated for children's Choice awards in eight states.

Ms. Van Leeuwen grew up in the small town of Rutherford, New Jersey. She was an avid reader as a child, reading every book she could get her hands on, from Nancy Drew to The Wind in the Willows. At one point, while trying to convince her parents to buy her a dog, she read nothing but dog stories for a whole year. (She got the dog, but when she moved on to horses, her parents refused to cooperate.) Eventually she began writing her own stories, which she illustrated with cut-outs from magazines.

After graduating from Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism, Ms. Van Leeuwen found a job in the children's book department of a New York City publisher. She remained a children's book editor for many years, an experience with inspired her to once again start writing her own stories. Her first book, Timothy's Flower, was published in 1967, and she has been writing and publishing ever since.

Ms. Van Leeuwen now lives in another small town north of New York City with her husband, Bruce Gavril. She has two grown children, David and Elizabeth, and a young grandchild, who will surely inspire more stories.

Visit Ms. Van Leeuwen's website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This was a sweet story about a little girl, Hannah, who is almost nine years old, and lives with her family on a farm in Fairfield, Connecticut, in 1777. Hannah hates chores like sewing, knitting, and spinning. She'd rather take care of the baby lambs. She gets her chance when she saves the life of a baby lamb she names Smoke. And when her brother, Ben, goes off to fight for freedom in the war, Hannah does her part helping to get him ready. I enjoyed this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is called Hannah of Fairfield. The author is Jean van Leeuwen. The story takes place during the Revolutionary War in Fairfield, CT. In this story, Hannah struggles with the fact that her brother, Ben, wants to join the war to fight against the British. She looks up to him and is worried that he might be killed. She's also concerned about taking care of a black lamb that was kicked out by its mother. The lamb won't survive on its own and it's relying on Hannah to keep it safe. In this book, the characters struggle to act bravely and responsibly.

Hannah is nine years old. She loves animals, and she loves being with her family. She's very responsible and respectful. She is also very persevering. At first, the lamb had refused to drink the milk Hannah was offering it. Hannah didn't give up. She dipped some cloth in the milk and let the lamb drink from it.

Ben is persevering and brave. When Ben asked his father if he could fight for freedom in the Revolutionary war, his father said, "NO, I cannot allow it." Ben wanted to go even though he knew he would probably die. He continued to ask his dad if he could join.

Hannah's father is a loving and concerned parent. He didn't want Ben to go because he had a big brother named Ben who died in the French and Indian War. Ben's father didn't want any of his family to die.

I would recommend this book for ages eight and over, because it's an easy chapter book, and it has two good cliffhangers in the middle and in the end. In the middle were not sure if the lamb will live or not. In the end, we're not sure if Ben will come back from the war. It was a pretty good book even though it lacked humor, action, and some description.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you like history this book is for you! Hannah of Fairfield is about a young girl named Hannah and her pet lamb (that she saved) Smoke. Hannah and Smoke live in Fairfield Connecticut. She hates to sew and cook but loves to play outside and play with the animals. She lives on a farm.

The story takes place during the Revolutionary War. Hannah's older brother wants to fight but their father says no, because his brother went to fight and died. That's why he doesn't his son to battle. My favorite part was when her father said she could take care of Smoke (who had no name at the time). I rated the book four stars. I liked the way the author described every thing, but I wish the story was a lot longer. I enjoyed the book and I think you would too if you love animals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
The book I read was called Hannah of Fairfield by Jean Van Leeuwen. This book takes place in Fairfield, Connecticut during the war of Independence. Hannah's brother Ben wants to join the army but his father says "no" at first . Then they see the British march forward and the people in Fairfield think they are coming there. They walk right past them to Danbury and burn down the town. That is when Ben's father decides to let Ben join the army . Hannah and her mother and her sister have to sew all of Bens clothes in two days. They finish and Ben leaves to join General Washington's army.
I recommend this book for people that like old time books. My favorite part is when Hannah is sewing Ben's clothes. She stitches an "H" in the collar of his shirt. She was hoping one day he would find the "H" and remember her.
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