All Is Well

All Is Well

by Kristin Litchman, Warren Chang
     
 

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Emmy's family are Mormons living on a farm in Salt Lake City in 1885. When a non-Mormon, or "Gentile" family moves next door, Emmy's curious—she's never known a Gentile—and eager to make friends with Miranda, a girl her age.

Meanwhile, her beloved Pa must go into hiding to escape being arrested by Federal deputies because he has two wives, Emmy's Mama and

Overview

Emmy's family are Mormons living on a farm in Salt Lake City in 1885. When a non-Mormon, or "Gentile" family moves next door, Emmy's curious—she's never known a Gentile—and eager to make friends with Miranda, a girl her age.

Meanwhile, her beloved Pa must go into hiding to escape being arrested by Federal deputies because he has two wives, Emmy's Mama and her "sister wife." Emmy misses Pa, and she's afraid of the men who come searching for him. But she and Miranda become close, and Emmy tries to live up to Pa's parting request that she "be a good friend." When Miranda falls seriously ill, Emmy goes in search of Pa, to ask him for a blessing to save Miranda.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in Salt Lake City during 1885, this first novel accessibly introduces the traditions and history of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Emmy Frailey's parents can remember a time when their valley was a refuge for the members of their church, but their way of life is threatened when Congress passes laws forbidding polygamy. Emmy's father, who has two wives, is forced to go underground in order to avoid prosecution. His parting warning to "beware of Gentiles" seemingly conflicts with his blessing for Emmy to remain a "faithful friend" to her new neighbor Miranda, the first non-Mormon Emmy has met. While the characterizations are rather pat, readers will likely be fascinated by the details of Emmy's unconventional childhood. She is used to sharing her father with another household and although she misses him on the alternate weeks he lives at Aunt Zena's house, the atmosphere around her own home is more relaxed during his absences. Explanations of Mormon laws, attitudes and struggles are clearly the main focus here (e.g., Ma's explanation to Emmy, "God has asked the Saints to build up a righteous generation. To follow this commandment, many of our faithful men have more than one wife"); readers may wish a bit more attention had been devoted to tightening the lackluster, at times strained, storytelling. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 9-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Shalini Murthy
Among the early pioneers were people of the Mormon faith who moved West to live life in accordance with their religious beliefs. The setting for this pioneer story is a farm in Salt Lake City in the year 1885. The author uses the theme of friendship to explore some of the beliefs of the Mormon faith at the time, specifically polygamy. Emmy Frailey has befriended Miranda, her non-Mormon neighbor. Miranda's father works for a newspaper that says that polygamists such as Emmy's father should be jailed. Litchman's sensitive portrayal of how Emmy's family copes with their circumstances and the true friendship they develop with their neighbors makes this a heartwarming novel.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6A story set in Utah during the late 19th century. When Miranda moves into the house next door, 10-year-old Emmy is excited about finally having a friend her age, even if she is not of her religion. Like most of their community, Emmy's family are Latter-day Saints and the children have been taught to be suspicious of people outside of the faith. Emmy's father has taken two wives in accordance with his belief that God desires him "to build up a righteous generation." He is a loving, strong, gentle man who provides for his family and encourages his daughter to be a true friend to Miranda. Yet all is not well, for the government has sent men to enforce new laws against polygamy, and Pa must choose between his wives and deny some of his children or be arrested. As tensions rise, he goes into hiding for his safety. When Miranda becomes dangerously ill, Emmy seeks him out to give the girl a healing blessing. Children will relate to Emmy's strong desire for a companion and be thrilled by her dramatic nighttime ride to help her friend. Descriptions of Mormon life are rare in children's books, and Litchman provides a well-balanced assessment of their culture.Robin L. Gibson, Muskingum County Library System, Zanesville, OH
Kirkus Reviews
An unusual story, both gentle and inspiring, of friendship in the face of serious obstacles. When a non-Mormon family moves in next door in Salt Lake City in 1885, Emmy doesn't find it easy to explain to her new friend, Miranda, why, as a Mormon, she has two mothers but only one father. Further complicating their friendship is that Miranda's father works for the Salt Lake Tribune, which is campaigning against the illegal practice of polygamy; government agents are actively hunting down those who break the law and jailing them. This forces Emmy's father to go into hiding, but not before he enjoins his family not to ever let non-Mormons (Gentiles) into their home in his absence. Emmy and Miranda find ways to work around his conditions until Miranda becomes gravely ill with typhoid. Emmy believes that the only thing that can save her friend is a blessing from Emmy's father, but if he returns to Salt Lake City, he will certainly be apprehended. Although Emmy and Miranda occasionally slip out of character and into roles as mouthpieces for their respective points of view, Litchman's debut is a sound one; she offers readers insight into a part of the American experience that is often ignored or misrepresented in history books. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780440414889
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
06/08/1999
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 7.68(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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