by Barbara A. Steiner

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in rural Arkansas in 1946, this books starts out well enough, but then begins to meander like the title character's favorite stream. Tessa Mae, 14, can't wait for school to be over so she can roam the woods looking for Indian artifacts with her father, Roy Glen, and go swimming with Jec, a black boy who is her only friend. But things don't go as smoothly as Tessa Mae wishes. Her parents split up and Tessa Mae moves into town; there's a barrier forming between herself and Jec; and Guy, a handsome college student, accompanies Roy Glen on his archeological searches. Steiner (Oliver Dibbs to the Rescue!) has all the right elements for an engaging story but doesn't seem to carry them through. The tensions between Tessa Mae (Guy renames her Tessa) and the other characters, particularly her mother and Jec, are unresolved, and Tessa Mae's mother is a flat, one-note character. Still, the story is pleasant and its setting is richly evoked. Ages 12-up. (April)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7-9 Ridiculed for her backwoodsy ways at the school she attends in town, 14-year-old Tessa Mae would like to lead her calm father's Thoreau-like life, camping along Arkansas river bottoms to dig for Indian relics to sell. But her plans are ruined when her mother an nounces that she is divorcing Roy Glen, moving into town, and taking Tessa Mae with her. To make matters really unbearable, she is forbidden to swim or fish or play with her only friend, Jecon iah Brown. (Tessa Mae is ``develop ing'' and Jec is ``colored.'') Her teacher arranges for her to spend one last sum mer with Roy Glen, learning field ar chaeology, in exchange for returning to school that fall. A university student as sisting her father shows her the value of a college degree. Jec's mother offers the most solace by helping Tessa to un derstand her parents and accept the re alities of community prejudice. While the Arkansas dialect is sporadic, the '40s ambiance is palpable. Character izations are sharp. Readers will be left feeling that Tessa, while not solving all her problems, is satisfactorily resolving them. Katharine Bruner, Brown Middle School, Harrison, Tenn.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Age Range:
12 Years

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