Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Strawberry Girl

About the Book:
How can Birdie’s family grow strawberries when the neighbors let their cows into the berry fields?

Birdie and her family are trying to build a farm in Florida. But it’s not easy with the heat, droughts, and cold snaps—and neighbors that don’t believe in fences. But Birdie won’t give up on her dream of strawberries, and her family won’t let those Slaters drive them from their home!

This Newberry Medal–winning novel presents a realistic picture of life on the Florida frontier.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lois Lenski including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.

My Comments:
I like to think I've been reasonably successful in making readers out of my kids, though none of them loves it as much as I do.  However, I haven't been terribly successful in passing on love of particular books.  Strawberry Girl, along with Lois Lenski's other books about girls from various parts of the US, is one of those I loved but could never convince my older daughter to read. When NetGalley offered this one, I jumped at the chance to re-live part of my childhood (though I must admit that my library has a large, though old set of Lenski's books).

Strawberry Girl is set in the early 1900's in Florida when it was still a rural swamp.  The main conflict is between a new family in town, a family that puts up fences and gardens and engages in agriculture as business, and a family that has been in town for a long time, or more precisely, the alcoholic father of that family, who is used to allowing his cattle and pigs to graze free and resents the fences the new people erect.  This book, along with the others in the series, spotlights the differences in people's lives in various parts of the country prior to the homogenization wrought by television and big box retailers.   Birdie and her family are "Crackers" and we learn the origin of the term.  She attends a one-room school and goes barefoot most of the time.  The dialogue in the book shows her dialect.  They farm strawberries and oranges and drink milk from their own cow.  Girls  wear dresses made from flour sacks and get hats at the milliner.

Any book that can still be found in libraries this many years after it was published has to appeal to someone besides just me, and it certainly appeals to me.  It is a children's book--a quick Google search shows grade levels between 3 and 6.  I give it an A.


  1. I don't think I ever read this book but after living near many strawberry farms in FL for two years, I'm going to have to check this one out of the library

  2. I already have "Strawberry Girl," and several other books by Lois Lenski.
    I love her works. In fact, just this week I splurged on a used copy of one of her earliest books, "A Little Girl of Nineteen Hundred." (It hasn't arrived yet.)
    The book is not in great condition,
    according to this description:
    "Label on spine torn and chipped; light wear to head and tail of spine; corners frayed and lightly bumped; small stains on edges; previous owner's name & note neatly written in the assigned place on front end sheet; hinges a bit loose, two-inch tear in rear end sheet along hinge; binding also a bit loose but sound; smudges on a few pages. Text clean"
    However, this was the least expensive copy, and I have surgical tape!
    Happy New Year!

  3. Great review, RAnn! I'm sharing it on my blog, which means that it will automatically be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

  4. Thanks for the compliments Rochelle.


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