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All the Way Home

All the Way Home

4.7 4
by Patricia Reilly Giff

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It’s August 1941, and Brick and Mariel both love the Brooklyn Dodgers. Brick listens to their games on the radio in Windy Hill, in upstate New York, where his family has an apple orchard; Mariel, once a polio patient in the hospital in Windy Hill, lives in Brooklyn near the Dodgers’ home, Ebbets Field. She was adopted by Loretta, a nurse at the hospital,


It’s August 1941, and Brick and Mariel both love the Brooklyn Dodgers. Brick listens to their games on the radio in Windy Hill, in upstate New York, where his family has an apple orchard; Mariel, once a polio patient in the hospital in Windy Hill, lives in Brooklyn near the Dodgers’ home, Ebbets Field. She was adopted by Loretta, a nurse at the hospital, and has never known what happened to her own mother. Someday, somehow, she plans to return to Windy Hill and find out. When a fire destroys their orchard, Brick’s parents must leave the farm to find work. They send him to live in Brooklyn with their friend Loretta, even though Brick knows that their elderly neighbors need his help to pick what’s left of the apples. The only good thing about Brooklyn is seeing the Dodgers play–that, and his friendship with Mariel. Maybe, together, they’ll find a way to return to Windy Hill, save the harvest, and learn the truth about Mariel’s past.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a fire destroys the apple crop on his family's upstate New York farm in 1941, a boy is sent to live temporarily in Brooklyn. There he befriends a young polio victim who wishes to accompany him home. "Giff brings together two appealing young characters in this story of friendship, family and finding where one belongs," said PW. Ages 8-12. (Apr) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The setting for this story is Brooklyn in 1941, when baseball truly was "The National Pastime" and the Dodgers were on their way to winning the pennant. The nation was still suffering from the problems caused by the Depression and parents lived in fear of their children contracting polio. Although her mother dies before ever getting to a hospital, a little girl named Mariel recovers from the disease and is adopted by a loving nurse. Mariel moves to Brooklyn with her "almost mother" Loretta, but as she grows older she yearns to return to the hospital at Windy Hill to find out more about the mother she can scarcely remember. Brick also comes to Brooklyn after a fire wipes out his family's orchard at Windy Hill. His parents must find work elsewhere and they send Brick to stay with Loretta until they can save enough money to go back to farming. Mariel's vulnerability because of her withered leg and Brick's unhappiness at being away from his parents eventually lead them to form a friendship and together they find a way to get back to Windy Hill. A heartwarming story of love and tenacity offering a look into life in the early 1940s. 2001, Delacorte Press/Random House, $17.99 and $15.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
Mariel, a sixth grader, works hard at not letting her polio-deformed leg define her. She lives happily in Brooklyn with her adoptive mother, although she yearns to know the whereabouts of her biological mother. Suddenly, though, Brick, the son of a family friend, is living with Mariel and her family, because Brick's parents can no longer support themselves on their family farm. At first, Mariel fears Brick but is gradually surprised, and pleased when Brick doesn't consider her different because of her 'damaged' leg. In turn, Mariel sees the sadness and embarrassment beneath Brick's pretend bravado and indifference to his parents' poverty. Brick's demeanor belies his loneliness, and soon, he announces he must return to his home, Windy Hill, to help his parents and elderly neighbors harvest their apple crop. Coincidentally, Mariel wants to return to Windy Hill where as a child she was hospitalized when she contracted polio. There, she hopes to locate her mother. Mariel's determination helps both her and Brick get what they want as together, they learn the power of strength and love to come from unexpected places. All the Way Home is a gentle story of the unfolding of a special friendship, the building of trust, and the sharing of vulnerabilities. Genre: Friendship/Loss. 2001, Delacorte, 169 pp., $15.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Diana Mitchell; Williamston, Michigan
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-The year is 1941; the Dodgers are vying for the pennant, and Mariel lives just blocks from Ebbets Field. Though she is happy with her "almost mother" Loretta, she is preoccupied with who her birth mother was. Hospitalized in Windy Hill with polio at age four, she was lovingly nursed back to health by Loretta, a nurse who subsequently adopted her. Now Brick, Loretta's friend's son, is coming to stay with them because a fire has destroyed his father's apple orchard, forcing his parents to find work elsewhere. Unhappy as the boy is to be sent away, he is further tortured because he helped Claude, a grandfatherly neighbor, save his orchard while his own family's trees burned. Though Brick is determined to get back to his town 200 miles away to help Claude harvest the apples before winter, he and Mariel become fast friends, and he is not bothered by her legs that curve "like the pretzels." The children run off to save Claude's apples and solve the mystery of Mariel's past. Claude invites Brick to stay on and gives him a sizable orchard of his own. Mariel, finally at peace with herself, returns to Brooklyn. Children will understand the protagonist's self-consciousness about her misshapen legs and her wish to be like the other kids. They will applaud her spunk and admire Brick's loyalty and determination. Giff's writing is filled with wonderful details that appeal to all of the senses. Readers experience the treacherous fire just as realistically as they cheer when Mariel catches a fly ball. A compelling story of two unforgettable youngsters, their strength, and their friendship.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It is the summer of 1941. Mariel, a victim of polio, lives in Brooklyn with her "almost mother" Loretta, who had been her nurse in a hospital in Windy Hill. Now Mariel is learning to adjust to her crippled legs, neighborhood prejudice, and her own fear of being unable to live a normal life. Loretta constantly encourages Mariel to keep trying, telling her of President Roosevelt's battle with polio. Brick comes to live with Loretta, his mother's best friend, when his family has to give up their farm in Windy Hill. Brick feels responsible for the loss because he had helped to save his neighbors' orchard from a fire, but was not able to save his own. Both children have compelling reasons to return to Windy Hill. Brick needs to help the neighbor pick his apple crop or his farm would be lost also. Mariel needs to put a name and face to her vague memories of her mother. Giff weaves these elements into a moving story of friendship, love, and need. And through it all the characters follow the achievements of the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose tenacity after so many years of failure gains them the pennant and helps Mariel understand that Loretta speaks truly when she tells her that she can accomplish anything. Giff portrays an era that is probably unfamiliar to young readers. But the themes are universal. The fears of the terrible ravages of polio and the near hysteria concerning its spread are with us today in the age of AIDS. And if the characters are just a bit too altruistic and the plot just a bit convoluted and contrived, so be it. It's really all about love, sacrifice, and courage. Readers will be swept away. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.19(w) x 7.69(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Brooklyn, 1941



Outside, the milk truck rattled along Midwood Street, the horse clopping, the bottles vibrating in their cases. Mariel heard it in her dream, just on the edge of waking.

The dream began again: green lace curtains with the sun shining through, a fine morning; a soft voice reciting a nursery rhyme: When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. The voice stops. The rippling in Mariel's legs starts, her toes jerk.

It was only a dream, Mariel told herself, only a curtain and a nursery rhyme. It would hang over her all day, though, make her wish for her mother, wonder where her mother was, what had happened to her.

A quick picture flashed in Mariel's mind: a red sweater thrown over her mother's shoulders, her charm bracelet clinking, her cool hand on Mariel's forehead.

If only she could see her mother's face.

"Mariel?" a voice called from outside.

Squinting, she opened her eyes and looked out at the yard. The apple tree spread itself halfway to the bare board fence, almost hiding the row of houses in back. She loved that apple tree. Loretta, her almost mother, had put a small white fence around it so they'd stay out of its way when the two of them played baseball.

And Loretta was out there now, her hair tied up in a red kerchief. "Hey," she called. "Are you ever going to get up? Want to go to a game today? The Dodgers might just win the pennant this year."

Mariel thought of Geraldine Ginty, her enemy who lived across the street. Geraldine would say Loretta was razy cray, that the Dodgers hadn't won the pennant during her whole life. Bums, she called them.

Mariel could almost see the green diamond in Ebbets Field where someone would be mowing for today's Dodgers game. How lucky they were to live only a few blocks away. She slid her legs out from under the soft summer blanket and sat up, still remembering the dream.

Somehow it reminded her of Windy Hill and Good Samaritan Hospital, far away upstate, with the fountain outside and the rows of iron lungs inside.

She closed her eyes. Sirens screaming, sick to her stomach, legs rippling, jerking. Chest heavy. Someone saying: "Hold on, kiddo, another minute, almost there now. Breathe for me, will you? In and out, that's the way. Here we are. Never so glad to see those doors."

And someone else reaching out to pick up her doll for her.

"Don't touch it," the first voice said. "All her things will have to be burned, full of germs. Shame, such a little thing, can't be more than four years old. Polio."

Mariel stood up, her fingers fluttering. When the wind blows . . .

What did that nursery rhyme have to do with her mother?

Someday she was going back to Windy Hill.

Someday she was going to find out.

She leaned out the window. "Hold your horses," she called down to Loretta. "I'm on my way."

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Her novels for middle-grade readers include The Gift of the Pirate Queen and Lily's Crossing, a Newbery Honor Book and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book. Nory Ryan's Song, her most recent book for Delacorte, was an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Patricia Reilly Giff lives in Weston, Connecticut.

From the Hardcover edition.

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All the Way Home 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really loved it I was completly glued to the book. It is a really great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it!! I like how she switched back to muriel and that boy!!post to me at the bell bandit please
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is terrific! It is one of my favorite. If you really want a good book read Lily's Crossing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book. Good writing. Nice plot, and I like everything about the characters!! ?