Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1203
An Autumn Tale of Family
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Faith and her brother Peter live with their parents on a farm that used to belong to their Aunt Lucy, who has recently passed away. Her husband, Uncle Arthur, comes to visit from time to time, especially when the apples are ready to harvest. Everyone is a bit sad and misses Aunt Lucy, but Arthur tries to distract the children with stories of how he lost his finger. He weaves in tales of his life with Lucy, and seems to be setting the children up to have good memories of him when he is gone, especially since he gives Peter his prized pocket knife.
Good Points
Told in free verse (uncharacteristic for this author), this story of family history is as bittersweet as a batch of fresh homemade applesauce. Faith's concern and love for Arthur is touching, and her brother Peter's attempts at separating himself from the family realistic. The illustrations add an old-fashioned feel to this short book, which is a great choice for a fall read aloud.

Despite the sad circumstances, this is an upbeat book about preserving memories. The part that I found most fascinating was Arthur's ever changing story about how he lost part of his finger-- farm life in the first half of the 20th century was not particularly kind, nor were children supervised terribly well, and an inordinate number of my male relatives were missing fingers just like Arthur.

Fans of Patricia MacLachlan, Julie Sternberg and Linda Urban will find this gentle tale one to savor while curled up under a light blanket as the fall air starts to cool.
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