Reviews for School at Crooked Creek


Booklist Monthly Selections - # 2 April 2004
Gr. 2-5. Living in a one-room cabin at the edge of a wood with Ma, Pa, and his older sister is just fine with six-year-old Beansie. But three months of attending school for the first time sounds as "pleasant as being a catfish choked to death on a sandbar." Set in central Indiana in the 1820s, this short chapter book depicts frontier life from a young boy's point of view, peppering the story with expressions such as "aggrafreted," "bumfuzzled," and "obflusticated." A bullying neighbor, nine-year-old Louisa's embarrassing freckles, and Beansie's pluckiness despite his small size (he needs to stand in the same place twice to make a shadow) realistically drive the plot. A black-and-white drawing accents the action in each of the 10 chapters, and an author's note clarifies the expressions commonly used by Indiana settlers. It's a folksy, funny portrayal of the time and place. ((Reviewed April 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
This early chapter book about a six-year-old boy's reluctance to start school uses a distinctive setting (the early nineteenth-century Indiana frontier) to explore a universal theme: change is scary. Though modern readers are unlikely to fret over panthers crossing their paths, they'll identify with gentle Beansie's fears and cheer his final triumph. Soft black-and-white drawings accompany the text. Glos. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 March #2
To Beansie, the prospect of school seemed "as pleasant as being a catfish choked to death on a sandbar." Going to school means losing the freedom of the woods, and for nine-year-old older sister Louisa, it means constant kidding about her freckles. Besides, in 1820s Indiana, the mile-long walk to school means dark woods, panthers, snow, and "Injuns." School means characters with such Dickensian names as Master Strike, Oliver Sweeny, and Skunk Breath. Lively writing, abundant details about homestead life, and old-fashioned words and expressions sprinkled throughout the text make this a fine introduction to the period as well as a solid story of a brother and sister learning to help each other feel important. Beansie, by the end, doesn't feel so puny and "no-count" after all, and even school might not be so bad. (glossary, author's note) (Fiction. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 May
Gr 3-5-This short, solid chapter book is set in 1820s rural Indiana. Narrated by six-year-old Beansie, it tells of his first, reluctant experience with school. It is mid year, but he and his sister, Louisa, were needed at home to do chores. The anticipation of the first snowfall, the teacher with no patience for little boys, and the friends and bullies at recess are all described in vivid detail. Beansie and Louisa make the long trek, get through their first day, and on the way home become lost during a snowstorm. Beansie is the brave one, and the siblings make it safely to a neighbor who gets them warmed up and on their way. The book is rich with colloquial language, superstitions, and information about the lifestyle of this pioneer family. Nicely done shaded, pencil drawings help set the tone. This novel will work well for curriculum ties, and may spark interest in the period when read aloud.-Sharon R. Pearce, Chippewa Elementary School, Bensenville, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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