- Title: Leona & Me, Helen Marie (A Small Town U.S.A. Novel)
- Author:Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
- File Size: 288 KB
- Print Length: 102 pages
- Publisher: Back Yard Press (January 30, 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00B8DTP9K
- FTC FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
But life is not always fun and games in 1922 for this southern Indiana family. In the wake of the Depression of the previous two years, the girls and their mama are often left alone in Hancock’s Chapel while their papa travels to find work to keep the family finances alive. Lately, Mama’s been showing signs of not feeling well, and Helen is stuck at home, missing the entire school year while she recuperates from the rheumatic fever that struck her the year before. Mama fears the worst is about to happen. Everything from the barn owl, to the chicken thief, the stranger who passed by one evening to a poor neighbor-boy who falls into the ravine, all point to signs of trouble to come. And sure enough, it does.
Leona and Me, Helen Marie, a middle grade novel from A Small Town U.S.A. series, is hometown historical fiction in the style of Richard Peck (A Long Way from Chicago, The Teacher’s Funeral, Here Lies the Librarian) and Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie), with a touch of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie thrown in for good measure.
“Magnificent, Helen,” Leona said, mimicking a ring master. She held onto a joist about thirty feet away from where I’d ended my trip across the barn.
“With my eyes closed this time,” I said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said. Leona was nine, two years older than me, and liked to pretend she was in charge.
“Watch me. Watch me,” I said, closing my eyes and turning around on the beam toward the way I thought I’d come. My bare toes gripped the rough edges of the wood.
“Helen Marie Heffner, you stop right now.” Her voice sounded just like Mama’s when I’m gonna get in trouble, but I took a step. Then another. On the third one, there wasn’t a beam under my foot. My eyes flew open and my legs peddled the air, like a character in the comic papers, trying to find a way to stop falling.
“Le—o—naaa!” I screeched.
Lu Ann Staheli beautifully retells the stories of her mother and her aunt as they grew up in the South in the 1920's. There is a lot of humor as Helen, age seven, is living life with her rambunctious older sister. There were many adventures to be found playing outside. Kids today are truly missing out on the fun that most of us over the age of 40 had.
This book will be enjoyed by those that love a delightful book about siblings, family, and lots of love. There are some sad moments that had me crying, but there were many more that had me LOL! I highly recommend this book to all readers, young and old! I will be reading it again with my own children.
Tomorrow I will be reviewing another book written by Lu Ann called Tides Across the Seas (The Explorers).