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Saturday, January 21, 2012

An Author's Books


Most often, when I read a book I love by a certain author, I am likely to love that author's other books. It held true with Helen Frost this week. My admiration for Diamond Willow led me to Crossing Stones, and I found myself once again spellbound by her words and story. Muriel, her brother Ollie, and her friend Emma narrate this historical tale of love, commitment, and determination. Muriel's words flow, and her "mind meanders like the creek" in a zig-zag pattern across the pages, much like the water flowing between Muriel's and Emma's farms. Ollie's and Emma's words are held in fourteen-line sonnets with rhyme structures that cup them together (and middle lines that rhyme with each other, something rather significant later in the story).

As World War I rages, Muriel questions why President Wilson would "take us right into the middle of this war they're fighting oversees." She adores Emma's older brother Frank but wonders if she should feel more than that about a young man going off to war. Emma's practicality dominates her life in school and chores, but her allegiance to her brother, to Ollie, and to Grace (Muriel and Ollie's little sister) shines fiercely in her actions. Ollie is certain his decision to lie about his age and enlist is the right thing - until he gets to training and then the front. As their stories come together, the many ways we see situations and live through challenges are illuminated in good ways.

Helen Frost's other books are on reserve at my library.

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