Gold in the Hills

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the summer of 1882, 10-year-old narrator Hattie Proctor, 12-year-old brother Pheme and their widowed father leave Illinois and head for Colorado. While Mr. Proctor combs the gold mines, the siblings are boarded with Cousin Tirzah, a bitter woman whose husband deserted her and their four children. She heaps chores and insults on plucky Hattie and severely withdrawn Pheme, and she balefully predicts that their father will never return. But their self-esteem slowly builds as they gradually befriend a notorious recluse, who-in a Hollywood-style climax-saves the children from being sold as cheap labor to a corrupt entrepreneur. Lawlor (Addie Across the Prairie) fills this compelling adventure with suspenseful drama and period details, including a revealing examination of 19th-century child-labor practices. Yet Hattie's vivid narration often transcends time and locale: ``The thing about loving,'' she realizes, ``is that I never have to stop, even when that person is gone far away.'' An ambitious effort. Ages 8-12. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Following the death of his wife, and determined to make a fortune in gold digging, Pa leaves Hattie, 10, and her brother, Pheme, with the bitter and hardhearted Cousin Tizrah, promising to return before winter. A widow with children of her own, Tizrah is barely earning a living for her family and resents having to feed and take care of two more. Her constant verbal animosity forces the already quiet and withdrawn Pheme to pull back further into his private shell. At the same time, Hattie is driven to taking charge of herself and her brother. In the end, goodness prevails, with the assistance of an old recluse woodsman neighbor, known for his meanness, but really possessing a soft and kind heart. Through some excellent characterization, Lawlor has cultivated the universal psychological issues of self-esteem and confidence as related to adjustment in stressful situations. Readers will be drawn into the mental anguish of these people as they evolve and show some emotional growth. A nicely developed story with some primary and secondary matters that can be discussed or thought about long after the book is finished.-Rita Soltan, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671568337
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Series: American Sisters Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.07 (w) x 7.36 (h) x 0.46 (d)

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