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Lumber Camp Library Hardcover – April 30, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-This spare and moving chapter book will hook readers from the first page. Ruby Sawyer, born in 1912, has lived her whole life in a Vermont lumber camp, where she idolizes her Pa, a logger. Then he is killed in an accident, and Ruby, her Ma, and her 10 siblings must move to a small house near town. In the midst of her loneliness and sorrow, the 10-year-old meets Mrs. Graham, a kindly blind woman who lets Ruby read her books. When the child begins teaching some of the loggers to read, she is on the path to discovering her life's work. While the "lumber camp library" of the book's title is not established until nearly the last page, the narrative builds effectively to that point. This story is gentle enough for beginning readers without glossing over the more difficult details of Ruby's life. The novel is long enough to get readers involved, but moves along quickly enough to hold their interest, and they will be transfixed by the strong and spirited Ruby.
Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-6. Young Ruby Sawyer is the apple of her lumberjack father's eye. He encourages her to learn to read and write so that some day she can become a teacher. His death in a logging accident makes life much more difficult--until the Sawyers meet Aurora Graham, a blind woman with a house full of books and an appreciation for learning. Mrs. Graham gladly shares her books and her large house, and in exchange Ruby and her family assist her with her household chores. Kinsey-Warnock's likable characters work hard to overcome the obstacles life has dealt them. The simple, direct language and short, accessible chapters will appeal to beginning chapter-book readers, although the story's themes are more appropriate to upper-elementary and middle-school audiences. This will be popular with children who like historical fiction; it's similar in tone to Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah Plain and Tall (1985). Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060293217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060293215
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,820,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sandy on January 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an old fashioned story with all the elements of a good read. The Pa in the story dies, leaving behind a wife and 11 children. Ruby, the oldest, has been going to school just long enough to learn how to read and write. With Pa gone, she must quit school to care for the younger children while her Ma becomes the cook for the local lumber camp. Ruby loves books and wants to become a teacher some day. How will this happen now?
This story shows how a simple kindness to a stranger can be a life-changing event. I don't want to give away the ending - let's just say that if you love to read and share that joy with others - you'll find this book to be a welcome addition to any home or school library.
I can't wait to bring it to my elementary classroom and share it with my students!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GC on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
I can't say enough about the great morals taught in this children's novel. The author has an interesting voice. The story line is interesting with well developed characters. As a bookworm, I enjoyed the idea of a little girl bookworm teaching grown-ups how to read. One reviewer takes issue with the main character's lying and stealing. Yes, she does these things. However, her consequences are her injured conscience, confessions of wrong, and attempts at restitution. She is a kind, hardworking, studious, obedient child who makes a wrong choice, repenting in the end. Those around her act with charity and mercy. These are good lessons that all must learn, when wrong choices are made and forgiveness is needed. This same reviewer doesn't like the superstition of the bird. No, it's not reincarnation or anything of the like. Reminded of a family member when forget-me-nots are in season, we are grateful this tender mercy from God. It's as if our angel-girl says hello with these little flowers. In the book, the bird simply acts as a reminder of the teachings of the father.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Hi! I am 8 years old. I was the first to read this book in my family. When I finished it, I told my mom, "You have to read it!" It is very good. I think it deserves 5 stars. If I ever have kids, I will read it to them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love this book. Ruby loves her log-riding lumberjack pa more than anything. She wants to be a lumber-jack too. But it is 1927 and a lumber camp is no place for a little girl
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Format: Hardcover
Both my 8 year-old daughter and I love this book! My daughter has re-read this book several times.

The story is set in motion when Ruby's father dies. It is sad, but the author does a good job of showing how difficult circumstances can affect a family but how the family can still adapt and love each other even through hard times.
The story is realistic and complex enough that the reader can appreciate the responses of Ruby and her siblings to their father's death (Ruby's lying to Jim, etc.), as well as Ruby's maturity in recognizing and apologizing for her behavior later. Overall, Ruby shows bravery, loyalty and initiative throughout the book. Her love and sacrifices for her family are obvious, as are her mother's for the children. The family grows to include two people because of love rather than blood (Jim and Mrs. Graham).
The book also shows how even children can have a big impact on all of the people around them. Ruby teaches children and other adults to read, and her love of reading and other people eventually leads to a new home for her family.

This book is a treasure! It's enjoyable to read, has beautiful life lessons and is complex enough for an adult to thoroughly enjoy.
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