From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-This short, solid chapter book is set in 1820s rural Indiana. Narrated by six-year-old Beansie, it tells of his first, reluctant experience with school. It is mid year, but he and his sister, Louisa, were needed at home to do chores. The anticipation of the first snowfall, the teacher with no patience for little boys, and the friends and bullies at recess are all described in vivid detail. Beansie and Louisa make the long trek, get through their first day, and on the way home become lost during a snowstorm. Beansie is the brave one, and the siblings make it safely to a neighbor who gets them warmed up and on their way. The book is rich with colloquial language, superstitions, and information about the lifestyle of this pioneer family. Nicely done shaded, pencil drawings help set the tone. This novel will work well for curriculum ties, and may spark interest in the period when read aloud.Sharon R. Pearce, Chippewa Elementary School, Bensenville, IL
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Gr. 2-5. Living in a one-room cabin at the edge of a wood with Ma, Pa, and his older sister is just fine with six-year-old Beansie. But three months of attending school for the first time sounds as "pleasant as being a catfish choked to death on a sandbar." Set in central Indiana in the 1820s, this short chapter book depicts frontier life from a young boy's point of view, peppering the story with expressions such as "aggrafreted," "bumfuzzled," and "obflusticated." A bullying neighbor, nine-year-old Louisa's embarrassing freckles, and Beansie's pluckiness despite his small size (he needs to stand in the same place twice to make a shadow) realistically drive the plot. A black-and-white drawing accents the action in each of the 10 chapters, and an author's note clarifies the expressions commonly used by Indiana settlers. It's a folksy, funny portrayal of the time and place. Julie CumminsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved