Rainmaker

Rainmaker

by Alison Jackson
     
 

The year is 1939 and Frostfree, Florida, has not seen rain in months. If the orange groves don't get some moisture soon, many families, including Pidge's, could lose their farms. But if there's one thing this town has plenty of, it's hope. Right now their hope rests in a sixty-seven-year-old Rainmaker from Mississippi who claims she can coax rain from the sky.

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Overview

The year is 1939 and Frostfree, Florida, has not seen rain in months. If the orange groves don't get some moisture soon, many families, including Pidge's, could lose their farms. But if there's one thing this town has plenty of, it's hope. Right now their hope rests in a sixty-seven-year-old Rainmaker from Mississippi who claims she can coax rain from the sky. Pidge has hopes of her own, too: hope that her brother, Little Jack, will stay out of trouble; hope that her father will lose interest in the pretty church organist; hope that she can gain some understanding of her mother's death. With clarity, and compassion, Alison Jackson explores the life-changing summer of a young girl on the brink of adolescence.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
This mysterious story of an elderly rainmaker is told in first person by Pidge Martin, who lives with her father, aunt, and younger brother in Frostfree, Florida, in 1939 during the worst drought in forty years. Pidge feels conflicted. Her brother, Little Jack, is constantly embarrassing her and getting on her nerves. Her father, Big Jack, and the other orange grove farmers will lose their crops if it does not rain soon. Her mother died of "mental illness" when Pidge was only seven. Pidge still misses her and is confused about the circumstances of her death. She is also concerned about how her family will adjust if Big Jack marries Miss Jenny Barton, the church organist. But the citizens of Frostfree are mesmerized and Pidge's worries momentarily forgotten when Big Jack and the other farmers make the controversial decision to pool their money and hire Miss Millie Boze, a "rainmaker" from Mississippi, to work her magic. A few days after Miss Millie's oddly unremarkable visit, rain begins to pour. And with the rain, Pidge's tumultuous emotions come to a head, and she is finally able to confront and sort out her feelings. Based on real events that took place in Orlando, Jackson's book is a touching exploration of hope, faith, and the changes that life brings to all. Her characters are vibrant and endearing, especially Pidge, who will resonate with female readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Boyds Mills, 192p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Dotsy Harland
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Frostfree, FL, is experiencing the worst of the Great Depression. Pidge, her father, younger brother, and aunt are better off than some since they at least still own their farm and can put food on the table. Without some rain soon, however, none of the orange crops will grow. When one of the farmers sees a story about a "rainmaker," a lady who brings rain wherever she goes, the farmers pool their savings; Pidge's father mortgages his farm to provide the bulk of the money to bring her to town. When she shows up, they discover that she's an elderly, deaf woman whose rain ceremony consists of sitting on a quilt, reading the paper, and eating strawberries. Has the town been swindled, as Doc Wheaton insists? During this same summer, Pidge is dealing with other personal issues, including finding out what caused her mother's death, worrying about what will happen if her father marries the woman he has started seeing, and wondering why she suddenly becomes so flustered when she sees her friend Noah. All the story lines converge at the end to reinforce the theme-accepting change as a part of life, even when one doesn't like it. This story, loosely based on an incident reported in the Orlando newspaper in 1939, provides a good companion to other period pieces set in Oklahoma or California, such as Karen Hesse's Out of the Dust (Scholastic, 1997).-Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In 1939, the town of Frostfree, Florida, is looking for a miracle. With droughts, frosts, sinkholes and the Depression, people could use a bit of hope. Indeed, hope does arrive in the form of Miss Millie Boze, the Rainmaker. Brought in from Oxford, Mississippi, Miss Boze doesn't exactly make it rain; rain just seems to follow her around; she doesn't know why, or how. Readers are likely to think the story line a bit thin if it's all just about this rainmaker who comes and goes, until they realize the story isn't hers; it's a tale of miracles, mystery, change and 13-year-old Pidge, who must come to accept her family, herself and her place in the world. Though the plot is slight and slow moving, the candid and earnest voice of Pidge will linger, just as the rain clouds after the rainmaker's departure. (Fiction. 10+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590783092
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
04/28/2005
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Alison Jackson is a children's librarian and has published eight books for children. She resides in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, Steve (a computer analyst), and her two children, Kyle and Quinn.

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