Whistler's Hollow

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Overview

Lillie Mae's mama has just died, and with her father not back from the Great War that ended over a year before, Lillie is shipped by her mean Aunt Helen off to relatives she has never met. Although she misses her parents terribly, Lillie Mae feels welcomed and loved by Uncle Dallas and Aunt Esther. However, there is something strange happening at Whistler's Hollow. As Lillie Mae resolves the mysteries of her young life, she confronts heartbreak and loneliness with courage, grace...

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Overview

Lillie Mae's mama has just died, and with her father not back from the Great War that ended over a year before, Lillie is shipped by her mean Aunt Helen off to relatives she has never met. Although she misses her parents terribly, Lillie Mae feels welcomed and loved by Uncle Dallas and Aunt Esther. However, there is something strange happening at Whistler's Hollow. As Lillie Mae resolves the mysteries of her young life, she confronts heartbreak and loneliness with courage, grace and ultimately, hope.

In 1920, eleven-year-old Lillie Mae, recently orphaned, goes to live with her loving great-aunt and great-uncle in their Kentucky farm house, where she learns the truth about several secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 11-year-old Lillie Mae's mother dies, the girl's heartless aunt sells or keeps for herself all of the deceased woman's belongings and plunks the child on a train bound for the Kentucky farm owned by a great-uncle and aunt ("It had taken Aunt Helen three days even to remember about them and another four days to find out if they were still alive"). Alone in believing that her soldier father survived the war, Lillie Mae is convinced that he will one day return to find her. Her neighbor Paul tells her that the farm is haunted and also encourages the other kids at school to shun her. And she is awakened at night by a shuffling sound and a foul odor that she calls "a rotten food smell.... It smelled like death." In a simplistic about-face, Paul befriends Lillie Mae (he rescues her when she becomes lost in the woods during a nighttime thunder storm) and discloses the source of the nocturnal noise and stench (her uncle is making moonshine in the attic to pay his wife's medical expenses). Dadey's (Cherokee Sister) heavy-handed revelations and forced dialogue exacerbate the feeling of melodrama. Ages 9-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Lillie Mae is an 11-year-old orphan in 1920. Her mother was killed in an accident and her father never came home from the Great War. However, having never seen the dreaded government-issued telegram announcing his death, the child won't accept that he is never coming home. She is sent to live with Great-Aunt Esther and Uncle Dallas, who provide a warm and loving home. However, the house is not without mystery. To help pay Esther's mounting medical bills, Dallas makes moonshine in the attic at night. On her first day of school, Lillie Mae meets Paul, a boy determined to alienate her. He is so devoted to the elderly couple that he assists Dallas in his illegal activities and is terrified that Lillie Mae will ruin their successful operation. Esther's health takes a turn for the worse, forcing the children to work together. At about the same time, Lillie Mae receives a package of her mother's belongings. Among the items are some letters and a telegram-not from the government but from her father to say he met someone else and is not coming back. While Lillie Mae feels betrayed, the truth helps her accept her new home. Whistler's Hollow is a quiet, lovely story about extended family, acceptance, and the power of secrets. Pair it with Janet Taylor Lisle's The Art of Keeping Cool (Atheneum, 2000) for another historical story with a similar theme. -Alison Grant, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After the death of her mother, an emotionally shell-shocked girl is packed off by her icy aunt to live with relatives she's never met: a nurturing older couple who raised her missing and presumed dead father. Setting her story in rural Kentucky after WWI, Dadey uses her keen eye for detail and gift for atmosphere to pull the reader in by developing a series of provocative mysteries: What's wrong with protagonist Lillie Mae's sickly Aunt Esther? Why does her neighbor and classmate Paul hate her and why has he set the other kids against her, making her an outcast at her new school? What's the strange and terrible smell that emanates from the forbidden attic at night, and finally, what happened to Lillie Mae's father? Although Dadey does a great job initially of creating intrigue, her carry through and resolution are not as satisfying and in fact, some of the answers to these questions are hazy or out of sync with the rest of the material, which in turn undercuts its emotional power. In particular, the father's fate comes out of left field; it's hard to reconcile his last telegram with everything previously learned about him. Like a good sketch artist, Dadey is able to sum up her characters in a few short strokes, and her beleaguered 11-year-old heroine is highly empathetic and understandable. Readers should have no problem identifying with her most universal desire, which is to be connected to people she can love and be loved by in return. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582347899
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 130
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Dadey grew up in Kentucky and is well-known for co-authoring the successful Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series. Her individual titles include Cherokee Sister, which was recently on Bank Street College's list of Best Children's Books of the Year. She now lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband, three children, two dogs, and one gerbil.

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