Dust for Dinner (I Can Read Book Series: Level 3)

Overview

Jake and Maggy lived on a farm where they loved to sing and dance to the music from Mama's radio. Then terrible dust storms came and ruined the land. The family had no choice but to auction off the farm and make the long, hard journey west to California-away from the dust storms, where the land is still green.

Along the way, Papa tries to find work, and Jake and Maggy try to help too. But what if Papa can't find a job? What if California isn't ...

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Overview

Jake and Maggy lived on a farm where they loved to sing and dance to the music from Mama's radio. Then terrible dust storms came and ruined the land. The family had no choice but to auction off the farm and make the long, hard journey west to California-away from the dust storms, where the land is still green.

Along the way, Papa tries to find work, and Jake and Maggy try to help too. But what if Papa can't find a job? What if California isn't better after all?

Ann Turner's dramatic story about the dust bowl, set during the Great Depression and beautifully captured in Robert Barrett's paintings, shows how one family stays together during difficult times.

Author Biography:

Ann Turner is the author of many novels, picture books, and poetry collections for young children. Her novel A Hunter Comes Home was an ALA Notable Children's Book of 1980, and her first picture book, Dakota Dugout, received the same honor in 1985. Among her other books are Rosemary's Witch, a School Library Journal Best Book of 1991 and Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies, a Reading Rainbow selection. Ms. Turner lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, with her husband Richard, and their two children, Benjamin and Charlotte.

In Her Own Words ...

I was one of those children who sniffed, slept on, and sometimes ate books. Once a week my father would go to the library and bring back seven books, one for each day of the week. I would open my mouth like a baby bird to devour food. I really think I would have died, had I not had books.

I wrote my first story when I was eight, about a dragon and a dwarf named Puckity. I still have it and use it when talkingto children. The story shows that children have tales to tell, and ones worth telling. I was encouraged in my writing through school and college, but was afraid I could not do it. I trained as a teacher and taught for one year, but quickly decided that I would rather write books than teach them. I tried my hand at poetry for two years and had one poem published.

It wasn't until my mother, an artist, suggested that we do a book together about vultures that I tried writing for children. So my first book was about natural history, and I loved learning about vultures and watching them in Florida.

The queerest thing about writing is how a story chooses you, instead of you choosing it. I often feel as if I am walking along quietly, minding my own business, when a story creeps up behind me and taps me on the shoulder. "Tell me, show me, write me!" it whispers in my ear. And if I don't tell that story, it wakes me up in the morning, shakes me out of my favorite afternoon nap, and insists upon being told.

Writers write for the same reason readers read - to find out the end of the story. I never know the endings of my stories when I start out; I must wrestle my way through them, punching out unnecessary words, arguing with self-important paragraphs, until I arrive at the end thirsty, tired, but victorious. This tells you, of course, that writing is not easy for me. Once in a blue moon it is, but most of the time it is hard, hard work. And I work every day. I sit down at my computer and write. It could be about anything, or anyone - my husband, Rick, my children Ben and Charlotte, or the woods that surround our house in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Remember that you have stories to tell, too. Remember that you have a voice that is worth being heard. Write your stories down, keep journals. Learn to be a spy. I am a nosy, curious spy who eavesdrops on people at the beach, or as they stroll along at the mall. I always wonder; "Why is she walking so fast? Is she mad? How come his mouth looks like that? What is that lady saying to her child?" If you keep your eyes and ears open, you will see that you are surrounded by drama and astonishing things, even in the midst of everyday life. Notice it; write it down, and who knows, maybe someday you will be a writer, too.

Jake narrates the story of his family's life in the Oklahoma dust bowl and the journey from their ravaged farm to California during the Great Depression.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
When terrible winds and dust storms ruin the land on the farm that Jake and Maggie call home, the family must sell and move. Ann Turner tells the story of the Dust Bowl years from one child's perspective. Through their journey, Mama holds on to her music and Jake to his hopes, and the family finally finds better times. Presented in an easy reading format, this slim book is a competent fictionalized representation of a difficult time in the history of many farming families in the 1930's. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-2Jake and Maggy and their parents live on a farm in Oklahoma where they grow crops, raise animals, and sing and dance to the music on the radio. But when a drought comes and dust storms destroy the land, the family must auction all of their belongings and head to California. They manage to hang on to their radio and their dog as the only reminders of the life they've left behind. With the adults working odd jobs, they make their way across the country and are lucky enough to find a better life in California. Jake's first-person narrative; the use of the radio as a motif to provide continuity; and the realistic, full-color illustrations combine to make this story a well-written introduction to the Depression for beginning readers. No dates are given in the story to provide context or historical background, but this information is included in an author's note at the end.Jan Shepherd Ross, Dixie Elementary Magnet School, Lexington, KY
Stephanie Zvirin
In this I Can Read Book, Turner takes a sad episode in history and fashions it into a story that has some depth as well as some drama. It revolves around an Oklahoma family displaced by drought and the Depression. Because the book is divided into chapters, youngsters will get the feeling of reading a "real book," while having the luxury of short sentences, generous leading, and a direct, easy-to-grasp plot line. Realistic, nicely executed illustrations decorate every page, and the book ends on a happy note: Dad finally finds a job in California.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060233778
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Series: I Can Read Book 3 Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Turner is the author of many acclaimed novels, picture books, and poetry collections, among them the novel A Hunter Comes Home, an ALA Notable Children's Book; Rosemary's Witch, a School Library Journal Best Book; and her two poetry books, A Lion's Hunger and Learning to Swim, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Ann Turner's historical picture books include Abe Lincoln Remembers, an NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia; Drummer Boy; and Nettie's Trip South. Among her other picture books are Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies, a Reading Rainbow selection, and Dakota Dugout, an ALA Notable Children's Book. Ms. Turner lives in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, with her husband and two children.

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