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Littlejim Paperback – Large Print, April 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475190638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475190632
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,201,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on the author's family history, this novel set in rural North Carolina during the early 1900s traces a 12-year-old boy's struggle to prove his worth. As a top scholar and excellent writer, Littlejim Houston is admired in his small community by everyone except his rugged, practical-minded father. Littlejim hopes to gain Bigjim's respect by winning a local writing contest. But the assigned topic, "What it means to be an American," remains problematic until Littlejim receives inspiration from an Irish-born friend who works at Uncle Bob's sawmill. Although the protagonist's final triumphs are fairly predictable and themes of patriotism are perhaps overdrawn, the unfolding of the story's events is suspenseful and engaging. Through clear, unembellished prose, Houston ( The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree ) describes day-to-day life on a farm, reveals Littlejim's growth toward manhood and conveys the love that lies beneath his father's gruff exterior. This book succeeds in capturing the spirit of immigrant Americans who overcame obstacles to accomplish their dreams. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-- Littlejim Houston, 12, lives with his father, Bigjim; his German-born mother; and two younger sisters in rural North Carolina during World War I. Bigjim, a dour Freewill Baptist, is the best lumberman and athlete in the area. Littlejim excels at schoolwork, writing, and carving, activities that his father doesn't understand or appreciate. While Littlejim works hard at the sawmill and on their farm, he cannot please his father. When an essay contest on "What it means to be an American" is announced, with the winning entry to be published in the Kansas City Star, Littlejim enters in hopes of at last impressing his father. Houston enriches her story with vivid descriptions of rural life, manners, and values, while Allen's pencil drawings elaborate upon these themes. The people who surround and support Littlejim are lovingly depicted, even as readers understand that Bigjim's respect and love is somehow more important to Littlejim than they are. Like Lowry's Rabble Starkey (Houghton, 1987), this novel concerns itself with growth and the role writing can play in it. Like Hamilton's M. C. Higgins, the Great (Macmillan, 1974) and the Cleavers' Where the Lilies Bloom (Lippincott, 1969), it also increases readers' understanding of the Appalachian region and its people. --Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luci Mott on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Little Jim is an "artistic" boy living in the Appalachians with a "manly man" for a father. He struggles to please his father while being true to himself. Surely we've all known someone in this situation. The way Little Jim copes will be encouraging to many of these young people. The sense of place is true to the Appalachia of an earlier time. Young people may learn a lot about this rich culture while enjoying this wonderfully written story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Poor Litlejim was how my fourth graders always referred to the main character in this book. Poor Littlejim tried and tried to please his father, but always ended up being hurt and disappointed. By the time we were two-thirds through the book, many of my students were beginning to doubt the validity of the characters. Bigjim, the father, was so one-dimensional, that we could predict his reaction to every situation. We did, however, enjoy this authentic look into mountain life, written by a person who knows the region firsthand. For an excellent book by this author, please read The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.
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Format: Hardcover
Gloria Houston's Littlejim is a winner on many levels. Her writing characterizes early 20th century Appalachian natives with the dignity and respect they deserve. Her attention to historic detail allows elementary and middle school teachers to have full faith in her accurate descriptions of mountain life and cultural practices. Littlejim's exciting activities provide enough fodder to satisfy any little boy's ideas of adventure. But the most outstanding thing about the book is its tender portrayal of a son and father who experience a very difficult relationship. For many adolescents, this book is a lifesaver: reading about Littlejim's mature attitude and refusal to part with hope will bolster the self-confidence of any young person.

What is amazing is that this book's setting is so specific (and enjoyable in that respect) but its subject matter is universal: everyone has to deal with difficult relationships in life. Littlejim shows us how we can deal with them and still hold our head up.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Growing up in the Appalachian mountains of rural North Carolina during the first world war, twelve-year-old Littlejim Houston lives a hard life. Littlejim is the best student in school, a hard worker both at home and his job at the sawmill, and a devoted son, but nothing he does can please his father. To Bigjim, Littlejim is just a "no-account boy," who gets sick to his stomach when he's supposed to help with the pig slaughter, and loses control over the horses when hauling a load of lumber to the train depot. More than anything in the world, Littlejim longs for his father's approval, but everything he tries turns out wrong. When Littlejim has the chance to enter an essay contest on "what it means to be an American," his father bluntly refuses to allow him to participate. Bigjim wants his son to stop "a-wasting... time with such tomfoolery," and become the man Bigjim believes he was at Littlejim's age. Can Littlejim find the words to express his feelings about America, enter the contest against his father's wishes, and manage to win his father's acceptance along the way?

As a tale about the relationship between a father and his son, "Littlejim" falls horribly flat. It appears that the author wants the reader to view Bigjim as a gruff, practical man who has his good points, but is just much too demanding of his son. In actuality, Bigjim is plain cruel. He doesn't show the slightest bit of sympathy or concern for his son, even when a friend dies a gruesome death right before Littlejim's eyes, or when Littlejim could have been killed by the runaway horses. By the end, the reader doesn't care much if Littlejim ever pleases his father - we just hope he survives the rest of his childhood.
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