From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—It is 1933, and Ruth is feeling the effects of the Great Depression. Her father has a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps, but it takes him hundreds of miles from home. With her mother also working and the school closed because the town cannot afford to hire a teacher and heat the building, she is pessimistic about the future for herself and her younger sister, Janie. Their mother is a constant source of optimism, telling the nine-year-old, "We don't have much but remember, there's always someone who is worse off than you are. So count your lucky stars that you've got what you've got." Then one morning Ruth decides that she will instruct the younger children in the neighborhood. She teaches them their letters by writing in leftover biscuit flour and uses pebbles to illustrate basic math. An author's note provides historical context about the Depression while the story itself concentrates on the human elements. The illustrations reflect the family's love and warmth. Rich, vibrant colors light the home and the surrounding countryside. Pinks, blues, and yellows are repeated in the characters' clothing and the flowers in the garden. Sepia-toned images are used for flashbacks when Ruth considers previous events. This title succeeds in capturing a particular time period as well as in delivering a timeless message.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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About the Author
Judy Young counts many things as lucky stars: her husband, Ross, who illustrated two of her books, her two grown children, Brett and Reid, her fun-loving dogs, and her home near Springfield, MO. Judy also counts schools across the nation as lucky stars for reading her books and inviting her to speak to the students. When not writing, Judy is fortunate to travel, camp, hike and fly-fish in many beautiful spots, often developed by those in the CCC, which she writes about in The Lucky Star