Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe by Bette Greene

I'd call it an “Oldie but Goodie.” If you’re not familiar with it, I think it’s worth checking out.

Beth’s a bright and spirited sixth-grade girl whose family raises turkeys. They are a black family and not prosperous enough to send her to college. Beth is intrepid and starts a vegetable stand in order to finance her dream to become a veterinarian.

Beth’s got a crush on the cute and jaunty Philip Hall. Their school-yard romance is complicated by the fact that Philip gets frustrated with Beth's comptetive spirit. Philip has trouble humbling himself enough to take a back seat to Beth and her competitive spirit. What's a girl to do? Stop trying? There's an important lesson here for both sides to learn. Which they satifactorily do by the end of the book.

Philip doesn't get all Beth's attention: she’s busy helping her father thwart Turkey burglars, leading her girls’ group in a running contest against the boys and helping spearhead her first just strike at a local shop. As you can tell, Beth is going to learn to be a confident girl whose worth is not dependent on the attention of cutesy Philip.

There’s a slight reminiscence of Anne of Green Gables: lively girl, innocent adventures, the theme of growing into one’s place in the world. Also: this is the author of Summer of My German Soldier; it’s been years since I read that one, but if it’s as I remember, it’s also worth checking into…



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