From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-Hattie's life is difficult with her mother dead and her hard-drinking father curt and demanding. The 11-year-old has had to quit school in order to do the cooking and other chores. Her father makes her dress like a boy, and she reacts to him by being sullen and ornery. He is a "Hill Hawk," a logger who lives a lonely life in the hills, and he begins taking her with him to cut trees. He also decides to take her with him as they raft the trees downriver to be sold. Traveling together, the two begin to heal the rift between them. Hattie is appealing with her strong will and human foibles. The descriptions of the trip down the Delaware and the interactions of Hattie with her father and the other loggers, especially a 13-year-old boy, make for a good story. Readers who enjoyed Jennifer Holm's Our Only May Amelia (1999), and Boston Jane: An Adventure (2001), Boston Jane: Wilderness Days (2002, all HarperCollins) will appreciate this historical adventure.Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. Nothing much remains for 11-year-old Hattie after her beloved mother gives up on life in the rugged New England hills in the late 1800s and succumbs to pleurisy. In their grief and loneliness, Hattie and Pa turn mean on each other, and she runs the household (not very efficiently), while her father prepares for a logging trip down the Delaware River in the spring. Still physically undeveloped, Hattie gets the jolt of her young life when her father disguises her as a boy in order to bring her along on the dangerous rafting expedition. It's a wild journey, and she makes her first friend, witnesses a harrowing death, and discovers much about her strength, her value as a daughter, and the sad but eventually heartwarming truth of her future that Pa has been hiding behind his silence. Tough, conflicted, wry, and introspective, Hattie is an ideal character to connect readers to the history. With beautiful rhythmic sentences, the simple first-person narrative captures her rustic innocence, the thrilling rafting adventure, and the heartfelt struggle of a tough girl who feels useful to her father only in the role of a boy. Roger LeslieCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved