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Here We Go Round

Overview

The year is 1946. Seven-year-old Roberta lives in Washington, D.C., with her parents—but this summer they send her to live with her grandparents in rural North Carolina for one month while her mother is on bed rest for a difficult pregnancy.
Roberta doesn’t want to leave home. She’s even more worried that the new baby might take her place in the family. So, while her momma and daddy are making quite a fuss over the unborn baby, she creates a secret wish. But soon she finds ...

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Overview

The year is 1946. Seven-year-old Roberta lives in Washington, D.C., with her parents—but this summer they send her to live with her grandparents in rural North Carolina for one month while her mother is on bed rest for a difficult pregnancy.
Roberta doesn’t want to leave home. She’s even more worried that the new baby might take her place in the family. So, while her momma and daddy are making quite a fuss over the unborn baby, she creates a secret wish. But soon she finds herself involved in the rhythms of the country and the extended family she comes to know.
Like a circle, a family unit holds together: a small ring inside a greater circle of loved ones. Alice McGill’s captivating story transports readers to a vivid time and place—and shares the joys and pangs of a child’s growing heart.

In 1946, seven-year-old Roberta goes to her grandparents' North Carolina farm during the last month of her mother's pregnancy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The pace of the narrative is as gentle as the pace of the rural life that McGill lovingly describes...the strength of African-American family traditions forms an important undercurrent."

School Library Journal

"Robert's constant anxiety about the new baby is authentic and compelling, and the historical details add appeal... A good choice for more contemplative chapter book readers."

Booklist, ALA

Publishers Weekly
This somewhat stilted novel centers on seven-year-old Roberta, an African-American girl who goes to stay with her paternal grandparents in rural North Carolina after her pregnant mother is put on bed rest during the summer of 1946. Resentful of her soon-to-arrive sibling and of the fact that she must leave home, Roberta nevertheless refuses to confide her feelings to anyone, even when prodded by her grandmother. The child's ambivalence surfaces whenever she plays at the home of a neighboring family with a newborn, who begins to wail when Roberta tries to hold him ("I don't like babies.... Because babies don't like me," she announces). Unlike McGill's Molly Bannaky, this novel offers little feeling for the time or setting, though children expecting a new sibling will likely identify with Roberta's volatile emotions. Unfortunately, some extraneous dialogue and uneven pacing make the tale difficult to follow at times, and muddy its message (e.g., when Grampa attempts to explain family circles to Roberta: "The family circle can have a whole lot of circles.One day you gonna become a part of a circle different from the one you in right now. That way, the circle go round and round for years and years. Folks in the family circle love each other like your daddy and mama love you"). Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In the summer of 1946, seven-year-old Roberta is sent from Washington, D.C. to stay with her grandparents in rural North Carolina until after the birth of her new baby brother or sister. Gramma Louise and Grampa Dave welcome Roberta to the farm where she helps feed the chickens and makes friends with neighboring children. Buried inside Roberta, however, is the hope that the baby will not come for fear that she will no longer be loved. Gradually, Roberta learns to appreciate that she is part of a circle that goes "round and round for years and years." The circle includes her parents and grandparents and everyone else who loves her. The addition of a younger sibling will not diminish the circle but will expand it and encircle her in its love. Although the acceptance plot does not unfold in a unique or compelling way and the writing lacks energy, the story of rural African-American family life from the 1940s shines through with authenticity. The black-and-white illustrations by award winning illustrator Shane Evans add texture and warmth to the story. 2002, Houghton Mifflin, Patterson
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-When Roberta's pregnant mother must stay in bed for a month, the seven-year-old is sent to stay with Gramma Louise and Grampa Dave in North Carolina. It's the summer of 1946, and the pace of the narrative is as gentle as the pace of the rural life that McGill lovingly describes. Roberta is a city girl who loves her roller skates, which are pretty useless on dirt roads. Instead, she develops an appreciation for singing games, farm chores, recitations, barbecue, and cutting out paper dolls. Meanwhile, her secret wish (that the baby inside her mother will go to sleep and not wake up) and corresponding guilt are resolved in a thoroughly natural way, by interactions with friends and relatives (in particular, an older girl who actually enjoys being a big sister). Throughout, the strength of African-American family traditions forms an important undercurrent. A rhythmic voice and a clear eye characterize McGill's writing. The emotions, even the darker ones, are handled with a light yet never dismissive touch. And readers new to chapter books will welcome Evans's drawings, which are skillfully done with a stylized sense of simplicity. All in all, an appealing read with a very human heroine.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618160648
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice McGill is an award-winning author and professional storyteller. Among her books is the ALA Notable Molly Bannaky, winner of the 2000 IRA Picture Book Award and the 2000 Jane Addams Award. Alice McGill has toured to collect and tell stories in thirty-nine states, Canada, the West Indies, and South Africa. She lives with her husband in Columbia, Maryland.

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