From School Library Journal
Grade 2-3–In this pleasant family story set in western New York in the early 1820s, Abbie, who is perhaps six or seven, attends sewing classes but would rather read than stitch the required sampler. To make matters worse, her older sister has set a challenging example. Done in soft focus, the double-page paintings with framed text blocks create a good sense of the period, Abbies home life, and Mrs. Browns Wednesday-afternoon embroidery sessions. The story spans several months of the girls struggles with less-than-neat fabric and stitches and her final humorous statement of rebellion, sewn into the bottom of her work. Though the story focuses on the laborious needlework, no distinct picture of it or any sampler is provided–all are only suggested in indistinct form. An afterword describes the eras educational practices for girls and the emphasis placed on the embroidered sampler. A good selection for those who like reading about life in other times.–Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Abbie is firmly told, "Books are for boys, needlework is for girls," but she hates her weekly needlework lessons. "I will not stitch when I'm grown. I'll have books instead of needles and thread, and read as much as I like." In the 1800s, however, fine needlework was what was expected from young women. Abbie's frustration grows as she tries to finish her first sampler, but wise words from her teacher point her toward a solution. Peck's attractive, painterly illustrations have a layered look; their broad brush strokes contrast nicely with the delicate preciseness of Abbie's embroidery. The opening sentence places the story in western New York State, and a full-page afterword cites the author's research on samplers, though it doesn't explain the white caps the girls wear in the pictures. Julie CumminsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved