Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Road to Tater Hill

Road to Tater Hill

Fall 2009 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
ISBN: 978-0-385-73677-0
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Annie would have thought the summer couldn't get any worse. Her father is posted overseas, in Germany, so he wasn't even around when her baby sister was born two months premature and died. But now Grandma won't even allow Annie to talk about the baby or to keep any of the baby clothes Mama made. Worse, Mama won't speak, won't read her father's letters, and won't notice the fact that she still has one daughter who needs her. More and more, Annie runs to the solace of the woods, where she finds a rock shaped like a baby that she can pretend is her sister, Mary Kate. Soon, she finds a new friend up on Tater Hill. Miss Eliza seems to understand her sadness-she lets Annie cry and talk about the baby, and she teaches Annie how to work a loom to take her mind off of the sadness. But Miss Eliza has a sad history of her own, and the other kids in town seem bent on persecuting her. And Mama is drifting further and further into depression. If Annie can't find some way to heal her mother's grief, she fears there will be no family left by the time her father returns.

This is an effective and sensitive novel about the grieving process. The plot is straightforward, and there are no surprises in the explorations of how various people react to grief; however, the portrayals of each character's reactions are believable and sympathetic, creating a satisfying and thought-provoking journey for young readers and adults alike.

Naomi Lesley   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

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