Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Homeschoolers, Hippies and Heirloom Tomatoes
As a former school library media specialist for 25 years, I've certainly read my share of young adult and children's literature. Some so formulaic as to bore me by the end of the first chapter, some so lofty or even ridiculously bombastic as to insult the intelligence of young readers.
Mr. Newton had me enthralled within the first few moments of reading his very entertaining novel, so much so that i longed for more information regarding the hazards of barge gardening, the thrill of river traveling, as well a the intrigue of such a desirable, nomadic life.
I've read stacks and piles of gardening books, but never one that took place along a moving river barge, tied to another. Such a fresh idea, I loved it, I literally yearned for it.
A fascinating glimpse was given, along with more than a few laughs along the way, oh so descriptive in his verbal pictures, I believe he totally captured the essence of the children and the parents here in this book.
That he touched upon the fringe movement of homeschoolers, hippies and heirloom vegetables so happily, so exquisitely even that he drew me in quickly and he filled a gap that's yawned wide open for many years, and for an audience that has been historically known as voracious readers, that is the young, the imaginative, and the adventurous.
The family's faith was portrayed as a strength, avoiding what could have been construed as heavy handed, the author deftly sidestepped the stereotypes that might have emerged, instead each character unfolded as an interesting individual.
Good job, Philip Ward Newton.