Children's Lit Book Reviews

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When I Was Young In The Mountains
By: Cynthia Rylant
Publisher: Puffin
Copyright: 1982
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book
Award: Caldecott Honor Book

"An evocative remembrance of the simple pleasures in country living; splashing in the swimming hole, taking baths in the kitchen, sharing family times, each is eloquently portrayed here in both the misty-hued scenes and in the poetic text."
- Association for Childhood Education International

Summary: The story talks about a little girl and her childhood experiences in the mountains. When she was young, living in the mountains, this little girl would wait for her grandfather to come home from work so that she could get her kiss on the top of her head. She would also eat hot corn bread, pinto beans, and fried okra. Because of the okra, her grandma would often have to take her to the outhouse where she would promise to never eat more than a serving of okra again. Her memories included walking across cow pastures and through the woods to a local swimming hole where she would enjoy spending time. She would also frequently drop by the Crowford's store for groceries like white butter. The little girl did such things as pumping water for showers as walking to a local schoolhouse where a congregation of people met for a church service. She reminisced of watching her grandmother killing a long black snake with a hoe. But, to the little girl, nothing was better then sitting on the porch at night with her grandfather shapening pencils with his pocket knife and her grandmother shelling beans. For the little girl, spending time with her grandparents was better than traveling to the ocean or even the desert, because she loved the mountains.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: This book is great for readers of all ages. It's a taste of what its like for a little girl either growing up with her grandparents or visiting her grandparents in the mountains. The readability of this book is quite simply what makes it a desirable book for many to enjoy.
What problems/conflicts could this book potentially cause?: I don't think that this book would cause many problems if any at all, although there are some religious aspects such as baptism that might make this a controversial book to read in public schools. But I think it well depicts the life of a little girl spending time with her grandparents.
My reaction: Wow! This book hits close to home for me. I've done many things and been to many places similar to what is depicted within this book. Both of my parents were born and raised in West Virgina, and we would travel back to West Virgina in the summer time during school breaks. My Dad would walk my sister and me through the hollers of West Virgina ,reminiscing of these exact, same events talked about within the book. Amazingly enough, I can easily relate to this book. I'm glad I found this book in the library.
posted by Jon Dale at 10:46 AM


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