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Strawberry Girl 60th Anniversary Edition (Trophy Newbery) Paperback – April 26, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Full of the flavor of Florida lake country." -- Basic Book Collection for Junior High Schools (ALA)

About the Author

In addition to illustrating the first four Betsy-Tacy books, Lois Lenski (1893-1974) was the 1946 Newberry Medal winning author of Strawberry Girl.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Series: Trophy Newbery
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064405850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064405850
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

One of my favorite books as a child.
C. Rollo
I just couldn't like 'em and I suspect they'll easily deter many a prospective boy reader with their girlyness.
E. R. Bird
This book is good for readers at an advanced 3rd grade and above level.
MLS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 138 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
I hereby nominate Lois Lenski's 1946 Newbery Award winning book, "Strawberry Girl" for the Most-Misleading-Cover-Art-And-Title Award of the 20th century. Picking up this story, I was fairly certain that this tale would be a cutesy little number about a girl who picks strawberries for fun. On the cover, after all, you see a little blond barefooted child clutching a cache of yummy red fruit as she walks along in her sunbonnet. I was anticipating Strawberry Shortcake. What I got was "Tobacco Road" for kids. An oddly shocking delight.

Lenski prefaces this book with an explanation of Florida "Crackers". Personally, I've never heard this term used as anything but a base insult. Lenski, however, seems to think that the phrase is deserving of pride. Concentrating on the hardworking rural natives of Florida, she gives a little background on the history of these people in an effort to, "present vivid, sympathetic pictures of the real life of different Americans, against authentic backgrounds of diverse localities". In this case, Lenski interviewed "Crackers" on her own time and used their stories (watered down, as was appropriate) to write this book. The result is a seething concoction of barely contained violence and danger, centered on the lives of two very different Florida Cracker families.

The Boyers have just moved into the old Roddenberry house, and they've got big plans. Originally from Marion County, Carolina, the family attempts to settle into their new life and make friends with their neighbors. Unfortunately, those neighbors include Sam Slater. A nasty man with a penchant for drunkenness, Sam's just the kind of guy who doesn't mind causing his fellow man a bit of trouble once in a while.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Meg F. on May 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read "Strawberry Girl" when I was in 2nd grade and found it to be both compelling and disturbing. All of the characters, from the main protagonist, Birdie Sawyer, to the minor characters, exhibited complex emotions and thoughts, which I related to. For instance, Shoestring Slater's ambiguous existence: he felt extreme loyalty to his family and his father, even as he was filled with shame and embarrassment about his father's behavior. Birdie tended to be, at turns, resentful towards and understanding of the Slater's. When her strawberry plants were initially trampled by the Slater's cows, she was enraged and very judgmental. A short time later, when she realized that Shoestring, his mother and sisters had to return all of their new purchases because Mr. Slater squandered away the money he'd earned from selling an animal, she was extremely saddened and felt tremendous sympathy for the family.

Why is Strawberry Girl so readable? It's a simple story of the belief in hard work, the idea that all actions have consequences, and that all of us possess a degree of good and evil traits. At the story's turning point, Sam Slater finds God (with the help of the gluttonous preacher) stops drinking alcohol and is saved, thereby positively changing the lives of his entire family. It's a story of hope- even in harsh realities; sometimes people are rewarded, despite exhibiting a lack of hard work or honesty. Amidst all of this turmoil, both families were still able to behave "neighborly" towards one another. Did the families exhibit forgiveness and acceptance, or hypocrisy? That's for the reader to decide. Nonetheless, Lois Lensky offered up a picture of pioneer life in our nation that was uniquely brutal in its honesty and also comfortingly familiar.
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123 of 145 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Strawberry Girl seems innocent enough on the surface -- a book about a little girl and her family moving to a new house, planting new crops, and their hardships. However, the book has a strong overtone of fighting and feuding. The neighbors argue through the entire book. This book reminds me of "The Hatfields & the McCoys" for kids. The neighbors are constantly trying to "seek revenge" and "get even" with each other. Maybe I am just conservative, but I thought the book crossed the line a little for young children when the neighbors started killing one another's animals to seek revenge. I know this book was written in the 1940's and won the prestigious Newbery Medal, but not all books are timeless... some of them show their age and I think Strawberry Girl definitely shows its age with a plot that some parents and teachers might find questionable. There is a good "moral lesson" during the last two chapters, but still you will have to explain to your children why the neighbors killed one another's animals and why it is not right to do so and to seek revenge.
Another questionable act in the book is the drunkenness of the neighbor. He throws all of the families money away on alcohol and gambling. He loses his temper with his wife and his children, and he shoots the heads off of chickens one by one with a shotgun when he is drunk. Again, this one might be hard to swallow (no pun intended) with 3rd graders. The two older boys of this drunken man beat up the schoolteacher so badly that school has to be cancelled for weeks.
Another aspect of Strawberry Girl that makes it questionable is the language Lenski uses throughout the book. She uses an extreme southern (almost hillbilly-type) accent with each character in the book.
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