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Children's LiteratureBirdie Boyer is Strawberry Girl in this delightfully classic tale of frontier life in Florida. As newcomers the Boyers' so-called uppity ways clash with the Slaters, their fence-hating, land-squatting, free-cattle-ranging neighbors. Birdie helps her Ma and Pa battle the Florida sun, drought, and sandy soil as they attempt to put in strawberry plants and tend to their orange trees. Problems abound and tempers flare as the Slaters and Boyers meet with trouble; fences are cut, hogs are killed, a mule is poisoned, and a raging fire is set. The Slaters are beset with tribulation due to the drinking, gambling, and irresponsibility of their husband and father. Mrs. Slater and her children find themselves indebted to the Boyers by a life-saving act of neighborly affection, which changes the heart of Mr. Slater. Lenski intersperses historical spice and appeal throughout her story, while illustrating the hardships and trials of life on the frontier in early twentieth century Florida. 2005 (orig. 1945), Harper Trophy/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 10 to 18.
—Sarah Nelson DeWald