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Letting Swift River Go Paperback – September 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
My family settled in the Swift River Valley and were raising their young children when Boston's attitude about "those people" destroyed their way of life. I grew up hearing stories about the life lost and, in most cases, never regained. The friendliness of neighbors, picnics and social events at the churches. Gram would know when it was time to start supper because she'd hear Grandpa's lumber truck shifting gears as it descended into the valley.
Imagine being a child (as were my uncles) and, not only losing your home, but watching everything you knew being demolished. And attending the very last community get-together where people cried and hearts were broken. The residents that Boston politicans and establishment so cruelly cast aside were forced to find homes in usually rural areas, and never again regained sense of support and community.
Readers of this important book should someday take it with them on a visit to the Quabbin, particularly when there is a dry spell and the water is low. From Route 202 walk the old dirt roads and see the foundations of homes long ago, and continue on down the road until it dips down into the water -- and look at more relics of the past through the clear Quabbin water.
Better yet, take a ride in a boat.
Barbara Cooney has created realistic scenes to accompany Yolen's words. Together, the story makes a lasting impression: children playing among gravestones, listening at night to the long mournful train whistles, and at sugaring-off tine "tasting the thin sweetness" of the syrup, all described with simple authenticity.
When Boston "decides" that a reservoir must be built to catch their water supply - - and after the many back-breaking steps are taken to denude the countryside - - the waters rise; "it took seven long years."
Much later, no longer a child, Sally Jane is in a rowboat, and her father strokes the oars, pointing out where buildings stood and where she played with friends. As darkness falls she hears her mother's voice from the past, "You have to let them go" . . . and she does.
Jane Yolen has shared the story of a past that continues on into the future with all its implications for protection of our water supply, and for preserving associations made even more precious by the intervening years. Reviewer mcHAIKU hopes everyone can feel the warmth of Barbara Cooney's sunlit country roads and the slower pace of life she paints for us. I wonder who in future years will be writing children's books about the damming of the upper Yangtze?
It is difficult for the young woman to get beyond sentimental feelings of her own childhood and friends with whom she played on those hills and dirt roads. They had lived happy lives until big city politics intervened to disrupt the landscape - and lives. "Houses were moved, and cemeteries; probably some marriages drowned, also.
The grandfather gently guides young Sally Jane toward the personal need to 'let go' of the past, and then to consider a population's need for water - whether it be Quabbin Reservoir, Mass., or Lake Monroe Indiana, or Lake Mead in Arizona, Colorado & Nevada. Many lessons can be learned among generations. One can almost see the strengthening of character that results from such acceptance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book arrived quickly and in nearly perfect condition. It was a moving story about the effects of progress on towns.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Purchased this because my grandson had to read it in his 4th grade class. The story did not thrill him or me.Published 18 months ago by C. Luckie
Use this book with my middle school students. I teach resource and it's great using smaller books to help the students understand concepts.Published 21 months ago by K. Cranick
I never read or think about this book without tearing up. And I often think about it when turning on my faucet. Read morePublished on May 23, 2014 by morethanpaula
Really enjoyed this book. Not only very informative but easy to read both for a child and enjoyable for adults as well.Published on December 30, 2013 by Ron Harmon From TN
Amazing poetic journey to a real and sad event in the past. Beautifully captures the human feelings, but also teaches acceptance of life moving forward. Read morePublished on November 4, 2013 by Patricia D. Mckenney
Jane Yolen and Barbara Cooney are impressive authors and illustrators. Together, in this book, they are just fantastic. Read morePublished on June 21, 2012 by P. Costello