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Hill Hawk Hattie Hardcover – June 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

*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 Leslie
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763619639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763619633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,214,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By flygal on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book for its peek into 19th century history, its humor, its sense of adventure and its warm and abiding characters. I read the book in about three days, the entire second half in just one. The characters absolutely glow, especially Hattie, her Pa, and Jasper. Clara Gillow Clark shows great skill in presenting the story from a young girl's point of view with her limited perspective on life and her grief, simultaneously hinting at other characters' perspectives that are different than hers. Her anger, her fear of displeasing Pa, the way her guard was constantly up with Jasper and some of the townspeople she meets along her journey are evident; at the same time, the author manages to convey that everything is not necessarily the way it looks to Hattie. I understood right away, through subtle hints and gestures, that Pa's grieving, too, and that Hattie only reminds him of his loss, but he still loves her.

I completely loved the rafting trip. Having spent many summers in the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, it was so neat to recognize many of the towns they passed through, and to see them go by from the vantage point of the swift river raft, at the pace they were traveling, was refreshing. I enjoyed learning about the logging history of the area and seeing it in action. Loved the developing relationship between Hattie and Jasper, and hints of what may come in subsequent books in the series.

The author skillfully maintains the metaphor of the hawk throughout the story through Hattie's close identification with its qualities. She also has a great way of creating suspense and realism on the river ride. One of my favorite parts of the story was when Pa lets Hattie steer the raft, and the first time she yells, "Pull Pennsylvania," it just gave me the chills. And the ending was perfect.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Going on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you like historical fiction, you will love this book. Hattie is such a loveable character; it's very easy to get drawn into her world. The pace of the book is fast, keeping the story moving with plenty of adventure, and at the same time you'll learn about the history of the area and the times. I highly recommend this book for both girls and boys.
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By Carol Baldwin on October 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
Hill Hawk Hattie by Clara Gillow Clark, fiction for upper elementary school girls, tells the beautiful story of 11-year-old Hattie Belle in the late 1800's. With her mother dead, Hattie is left alone with her father, a rough logger who makes his living by rafting the logs down the Delaware River.

One day her father comes home and announces that Hattie is going to pass as his son and join him on the river. Concerned that she's no longer "his girl," Hattie still settles into the logging routines and befriends 13-year-old Jasper, another logger's son.

Clara Clark describes the trip down the Delaware in vivid detail. The reader gets to experience the perils of riding through rapids on a raft that can break apart any minute and how fearful Hattie is that the other men will discover her identity and turn against her father.

Towards the end of the book Clark uses the metaphor of Hattie's journey to show Hattie's inner life. In reflecting on her mother's death Hattie confides to Jasper, "I think my ma got stuck in her mind somewhere between her fine home in Kingston and our hills. Somehow, I think it just pulled her apart, like a raft breaking apart on rocks you can't see." (p. 146)

After they get off the river, Hattie discovers that her father has a different plan for her life. A river of thought spun around in my head, floated together, fit into a pattern like logs and lash poles, pieces that shaped the story of our journey, mine and Pa's. "You taking me to Kingston, Pa?"

Highly recommended book!
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