From School Library Journal
Grade 5-7–Emma Meade, first encountered in Faraway Summer
(Morrow, 1998) and Dear Emma
(HarperCollins, 2002), continues to share details of family life on a farm in Vermont. Her journal entries begin during a drought in September, 1911, when her father hires a dowser, and end the following April, around the time of the sinking of the Titanic
. Emma likes her brother Eddie's handsome friend, Cole, but when he comes by the house with some cider, her father tells him that the 15-year-old is too young to be courted. Emma feels embarrassed, and worries that pretty Josie Wheeler will win Cole's affections. Then, during a February choir practice, Emma gets an unsigned valentine that she guesses is from Cole. In a conveniently exciting ending, he rescues her when she falls into the river during a flood. Azarian's small, serene woodcuts open each chapter, while local newspaper articles add interest. This entertaining novel can stand alone, and it is a good choice for readers who have graduated from the American Girl doll books (Pleasant Co).–Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI
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Gr. 6-9. This first-person novel records the thoughts of 15-year-old Emma Meade during the fall of 1911 and the following winter and spring. After her brother marries and her mother becomes pregnant, Emma leaves school to help carry more of the workload on her family's Vermont farm. Pleased when handsome Cole Berry begins to pay attention to her, Emma is stung by her father's refusal to let anyone court her so young. The tone of the writing and the realistic details of everyday life and social conventions reflect the period setting, while Emma's thoughts and emotions will strike a sympathetic chord with today's readers. In the appended note, Hurwitz comments on the period, her research, and what elements of history made their way into the fiction. Historical figures Grace Coolidge and Wilson (Snowflake) Bentley have minor roles in the narrative. Azarian, who illustrated the 1999 Caldecott Medal Book, Snowflake Bentley
, contributes small pictures that head some of the entries. A quiet, satisfying historical novel. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved