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

Days of Little Texas

Days of Little Texas

Fall 2009 Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
ISBN: 978-0-375-85593-1
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Ronald Earl, known as Little Texas to his followers, has been a gifted child preacher almost since he can remember. But now that he's fifteen, he's not such a child; and though his great-aunt might dress him in too-large suits to keep the crowds coming to hear the "little" miracle, Ronald himself is increasingly assailed by doubts about his fitness to preach. After a girl he heals at a prayer meeting begins to haunt him as a ghost, Ronald Earl grows more and more afraid that he is pursuing the wrong vocation. When the ministry brings him to preach at the site of an old plantation, Ronald turns to his friend Certain Certain, an amateur historian of slavery, and to the ghost herself to right a wrong that has corrupted the site.

This tale of the supernatural weaves together historical pathos, ghostly suspense, a teen identity crisis, and a backdrop of evangelical revivalism to create an unexpected combination of characters and events. Despite the strangeness of Ronald Earl's situation (in both the "real-life" and the supernatural parts of the story), his honest struggles to understand himself win the reader's sympathy and make him easily understandable. The mystery contains a twist that asks young readers to consider the implications of historical legacies. However, what really makes this novel work is Ronald Earl's desire to understand the changes he's going through, and the resolution of his own crisis of faith.

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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