Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Play Day is approaching, but Cat Kinsey, the fastest runner at school, won't be participating in the races because her old-fashioned, bull-headed father won't allow her to wear pants even while playing sports. Cat is so busy being angry at her family that she doesn't have time to think about bigger problems-the Depression, for instance-until circumstances involve her with a family of ``Okies'' who work on a nearby farm. Cat's gripes seem small compared with the obstacles facing the Perkinses, who have lost both their land and their house to dust storms. Now, camping out in an old Studebaker, the Perkinses work long hours just to make enough money for food. Cat can offer the family little besides sympathy until the youngest Perkins, Samantha, catches pneumonia and Cat, running the most important race of her life, fetches a doctor in the nick of time. Snyder (The Egypt Game) gracefully demonstrates the strength and pride of the Perkins family. With equal skill, she relates how Cat's initial repugnance of ``Okies'' evolves into enormous compassion-which extends to her own family as well. This tender historical novel is as moving as it is insightful. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This story features another independent, feisty girl, Catherine Kensey, aka Cat. Set in California during the Depression, Cat, 11, is the fastest runner in her school. Refusing to run in the Play Day Races because her father, a strict conservative, will not allow her to buy slacks, she believes her class will lose. It is the new boy, an Okie, who wins the race barefooted. He doesn't care what others think. Slowly Zane and Cat begin an uneasy friendship. She is appalled by the shanty town where his family live but it is his sister, Sammy, 5, who affects Cat deeply and forces her to dramatic action. Cat learns how quickly people's economic status can change. Snyder never preaches but allows the children to take action and grow as people. 1996 (orig.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-7A solitary girl joins forces with a boy who is ostracized because his family are "Okies," racing for medical help against weather elements, prejudice, and time when his little sister is stricken with pneumonia. Expertly paced, with a vivid sense of life during the Great Depression. (Nov. 1994)
A small town in California during the Depression is the setting for Snyder's latest, which explores family relationships and prejudice. To spite her father, who won't allow her to wear slacks, Cat Kinsey, fastest runner in her school, decides not to compete in the annual school Play Day. When Zane Perkins, an Okie (his family is really from Texas), wins, she's miffed, not only because Zane's actually fast, but also because he's part of a social group her father and stepsister routinely disdain. When she meets Zane's little sister Sammy, though, Cat recognizes intolerance for what it is and, in the process of becoming involved with the Perkinses, learns to see her own family in a clearer light. Snyder loses touch with the Kinseys, whom she so dramatically characterizes at the outset, but she imparts a good deal about the lot of Dust Bowl nomads and orchestrates Cat's change from self-absorbed child to caring young woman with energy and enough verisimilitude to keep readers pleasantly involved.