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Least of All Hardcover – May 31, 1987
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2 Raven Hannah is the youngest of six children and the only girl. Growing up on a turn-of-the-century Vermont farm, she is in a milieu in which everyone must pitch in, and she, not big enough to do much, feels left out. When she is almost seven, she is finally old enough to do the churning, a lonely, tedious job which still leaves her feeling excluded. To ameliorate her boredom, she churns with a Bible in her lap, trying to make out the words, aided by her Sunday school instruction and memorization. As the seasons turn, Raven Hannah's skill grows, and, when winter comes, she surprises everyone by being able to readsomething that no one else in her family can do. Raven Hannah vows to teach the others``And during the long, cold Vermont winter, that is exactly what Raven Hannah did.'' This is a quiet story, a fulfilling tale about the joy of accomplishment. The prose is full of rich, warm images of rural life, from the summer corn growing in the ``moist, velvety earth of Papa's fields'' to the cellar, freshly scrubbed and full of harvest prepared for winter. The story is told in a pageant of seasons, suitably evoked by Arnold's small, formal, watercolor paintings, folk-primitive in design, but with a sophisticated skill in expression and detail. A gentle book containing a simply told story which resonates long after the last page is turned. Christine Behrmann, New York Public Library
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.