From Publishers Weekly
This realistic rags-to-riches (and back again) tale set in the time of Hoovervilles and bread lines follows a girl who takes up a hobos life. Sheltered, wealthy Frances Barrows world is thrown into chaos when her fathers factories go bankrupt and he kills himself during the Depression. When she hears a servants plan to become a hobo and ride the rails, 12-year-old Frances sees a way out of being sent from her home in Philadelphia to live with her stern aunt in Chicago. She gives the slip to the adults, cashes in her train ticket and disguises herself as a boy, leaping into a dark boxcar headed for Pittsburgh and freedom. DeFelice (Clever Crow) convincingly depicts Francess transformation to boy vagabond Frankie Blue, as well as the heroines blossoming friendship with Stewpot, the seasoned 15-year-old who takes her under his wing right from the get-go. By disguising Frances as a boy, the author cleverly evades graphic details of the dangers to frills, or girls on the move (alluding to the dangers through a few cameo appearances by other down-and-out females). Details of the Depression get more weight than character development; while readers will have a clear sense of the destitution that characterized the era, they may have less of a sense of who Frances is. Nonetheless, they will likely be relieved that she finally decides to leave a life on the streets for the safety of her aunts home. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-After her father's suicide, 12-year-old Frances Elizabeth Barrow decides on a life of adventure by travelling around the country disguised as a young male hobo in this book by Cynthia De Felice (Farrar, 1999). An experienced teen transient, Stewpot, befriends her and she accompanies him on his excursions. She soon learns about the uncertainty involved with hopping freight cars and living with strangers, some of whom prove untrustworthy at best and dangerous at worst. Frankie Blue, her road moniker, eventually decides that living with a distant aunt in Chicago is far better than a dubious life on the road where finding a secure place to sleep and a meager meal is paramount. Narrator Alyssa Bresnahan effortlessly allows the Depression Era hobo terminology to roll off her tongue, and she convincingly conveys the emotions felt by Frances initially as an innocent after her father's death and then during her developing awareness of reality as a transient scrounging for food and companionship. She skillfully alters her vocal inflection and tone to enable listeners to aurally distinguish between various characters who interact with Frankie. This audiobook would be a valuable addition to historical fiction collections, and would complement an instructional unit focusing on Depression era social issues or on the reality of attempting to be self-sufficient at a young age. The last cassette features an insightful interview with accomplished author, Cynthia De Felice.Cynthia Schulz, Northwest ESD 189, Mount Vernon, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the
Audio Cassette edition.