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Stepping on the Cracks (Gordy Smith #1)

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4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,622 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
In 1944, when her brother is overseas fighting in World War II, eleven-year-old Margaret changes her mind about the school bully, Gordy, after she discovers he is hiding his own brother, a deserter. "There is plenty of action and page-turning suspense (and) much to ponder and reflect on as well." -- School Library Journal, starred review
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by HarperTrophy (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katharine
Mar 04, 2011 Katharine rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much in 4th grade, that I volunteered to "adopt" its library shelf during recess on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I kept the "H" shelf straight and in order so that this book would be safe and well cared for. I have no idea how many times I read it, I'm sure it was alot...
Aileen Antillon
Dec 04, 2014 Aileen Antillon rated it really liked it
Would you like your brother to be in Hitlers war? yea.......mhmmm I wouldn't because he would be in a risk. He could die,a war is very dangerous to be in you don't know what might happen.The genre of this book is historical fiction you could say because i dont think anyone could be in Hitlers war because hes not alive anymore, maybe in the past when he was alive but trust me no one can be in Hitlers war. My opinion in this book is that i really really liked it because it had lots of action in it ...more
Claudia
Hahn is writing here about a time she remembers...war years on the home front. Storybook Dolls, nasty brown oxford shoes (I had a pair 10 years later -- hated them!!). A child's flawed understanding of war and its consequences. This is her most reflective book, and her most thoughtful.

Often there are nasty kids, ghosts who cannot rest. Often there is redemption and growth and insights.

Here, there's only kids trying to live their lives when the adults in their lives are so preoccupied by WWII. M
...more
Julie Lobb
May 27, 2012 Julie Lobb rated it it was amazing
I love reading historical fiction books about World War II. This one is interesting because it is set in the United States during the war. This book is different than Mary Downing Hahn's other books. No scary ghosts! But the characters are likeable, even the school bully who has a secret.
Jenna
May 26, 2014 Jenna rated it it was amazing
Best historical fiction book I've ever read. The amazing plot line makes you want to read it all night long
Peony Minassian
Jun 03, 2012 Peony Minassian rated it really liked it
The reason why I chose the book Stepping on the Cracks was because I never read historical fiction before, and reading a book that involved World War II seemed very fascinating. The book is about a girl named Margaret, and her friend Elizabeth. Both of their brothers are batting the war because of Hitler, and while their overseas at war, Margaret and Elizabeth have their own war at home with the biggest bully, Gordy. My favorite quote from the story would be "Together we walked the rest of the w ...more
Brent Haremza
Oct 14, 2015 Brent Haremza rated it it was amazing
This books was amazing! I read this book back in 8th grade and loved it. I just recently got the chance to recall this book for a college class i'm in and tell them about it. I just wish Mary Downing Hahn would write the sequel to this. Thank you so much for writing this book.
Nancy
Feb 16, 2016 Nancy added it
This book brought back a lot of childhood memories for me. The girls in this story would sing, "Step on a crack, and break Hitler's back." We used to sing, Step on a crack, and break your mother's back, and then we would try very hard not to step on a crack. We would sing, Whistle while you work, Hitler is a jerk, etc.

I related to the fear of having someone in the military. My older brother was in the Navy during the Korean conflict, starting in 1950. In this story we hear about loved ones figh
...more
Demi Purdy
This book, written by one of my favorite authors, is a historical fiction book taking place in the later years of World War II. Set in 1944, this book tells the story of Margaret, whose brother, Jimmy, is out fighting in the war. Her friend, Elizabeth, has a brother who is fighting as well, but they aren't scared for them as they believe that they well come home safely. But they have their own problems: the school bully, Gordy, who refuses to leave them alone. However, the girls later stumble up ...more
Sara Andrews
Dec 01, 2014 Sara Andrews rated it it was amazing
World War II is in full force. While Elizabeth and Margret are at home in a small town, College Hill, their brothers are off at war. The underlying mood of the entire story is how people are trying to get by and interact in everyday life while their loved ones are oversea.

I like how this book is written from the perspective of everyday life here in the United States during WWII. Even though the girls’ brothers are fighting in a real war, they too are fighting their own against the town bully,
...more
Karen Lester
Nov 04, 2014 Karen Lester rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Mcmahon
Jun 06, 2014 Jessica Mcmahon rated it it was amazing
Some people are mean for a reason, don't judge them so quickly. This was a lesson Margret didn't know she would learn. She and her best friend, the daring Elizabeth, live in 1944, both of their older brothers were drafted to serve in World War II. Along with the hard times, they also have to live near the a horrible neighborhood bully named Gordy. He's rude, sexist, and won't hesitate to hurt someone. At first, it seems average- Margret and Elizabeth wanted to get revenge on Gordy. (Elizabeth wa ...more
Rll52014_barb_zachwieja
Nov 06, 2014 Rll52014_barb_zachwieja rated it it was amazing
This was one of my all-time favorite books to read with my fifth graders in our study of WWII. This book follows the female protagonist, Margaret
close, whose brother is fighting in the war overseas. She gets letters from him often, but when the fighting heats up in Belgium, where he's stationed, then the frequency of the letters quickly diminishes. The family is worried about his fate. Meanwhile, Margaret and her best friend, Elizabeth, have to put up with constant bullying from their classmate,
...more
Elly Berge
Dec 14, 2011 Elly Berge rated it it was amazing
This book was a good new view on World War II. Connecting the families overseas and the fighting of wars in and around towns, even if it was the School Bully. Mary Downing Hahn writing style creates a different view on society in this time. The view of two girls that are not really included in the war, but they are affected by it. This book was a good mix of strong english and historical concepts. It was very intriguing and will get a readers emotions running.
Bree Ervin
Nov 27, 2014 Bree Ervin rated it liked it
I read this book slowly over a month, it kept getting interrupted by other books.
I don't think that was the fault of this book however - just one of those times in life.
I've been a Mary Downing Hahn fan since I was a kid, and my daughters both love her books now.
This one is great in many ways, it touches on a lot of really important issues that kids are facing as well as reminding us of a time in our history when we often look outward at what was happening in the world and forget to look at wha
...more
Marion
Jun 14, 2010 Marion rated it really liked it
I had to read this in fourth grade. It was me and a bunch of girls and all we did when we read it was giggle and cry, we all bonded. It was so sad once the book was over because our little group was over. I remember it very fondly and would definitely recommend it.
H.R.H. Carpathia
Jul 30, 2015 H.R.H. Carpathia rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Even if you do not like Historical fiction you will enjoy this book. While the war goes on life does not stand still. Magie is an 11 year old who enjoys stepping on cracks to break Hitlers back along with her best friend Elizabeth, both of who's brother are off fighting the ar in Europe. The girls are both bullied by a boy named Gordy and they hate him almost as much as Hitler. But when they discover his seceret things begin to change including Magie's take on the war. You w ...more
Leslie
Jun 07, 2015 Leslie rated it really liked it
Wow! A very realistic historical fiction. Small American town in the 1940s during WWII. Brothers and sons are off to war. 6th graders Elizabeth and Margaret are neighbors and best friends who both have stars hanging in their windows while their brothers are away. They also have the town bully to deal with...and boy is he mean, but he is also hiding a couple secrets.

ALERT...This next part has spoilers.....

I was a little concerned for young readers about the part near the beginning where the youn
...more
Aiden Gamache
Jan 26, 2016 Aiden Gamache rated it really liked it
The book I read was called Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn. This book takes place at College Hill (now named College Park) from 1944 to 1945. The story was told from Margaret's perspective (the main character) and is about how she and her friend Elizabeth have to deal with bullies, the relentless war with the Nazi's and the Japanese, and her brother who had been drafted. If you liked this book you might want to read the book called Unbroken. If you like to read stories from way back ...more
Jennifer Miller
Mar 13, 2015 Jennifer Miller rated it liked it
Shelves: middleschool
This is the book that I am currently using for a class read aloud. It plays on the old phrase "step on a crack and break your mother's back" except replace "mother" with "Hitler." The story is set in Maryland during WWII. The female characters both have brothers that are away at war. They discover that the bully in their town, Gordy, is aiding a deserter. The book will definitely help students understand what families go through when someone is away at war. I enjoyed reading it but would have wa ...more
Meghan
Apr 23, 2010 Meghan rated it did not like it
I hate this book!
Zoë
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Myles
Apr 22, 2015 Myles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-stuff, historish, dcf
I missed out on this one growing up. I read a lot of Mary Downing Hahn back then, but I was (and still am in some ways) guilty of pidgeon-holing. Hahn was a writer of the supernatural, of mysteries. Like Zilpha Keatley Snyder or John Bellairs I wasn't interested in reading their work if it wasn't immediately offering what I liked.

But kids don't always know what's good for them. Sometimes they can't leave the table until they've eaten they're broccoli (this is hypothetical, I've always known that
...more
bfeliciano
Dec 14, 2010 bfeliciano rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pandora
Feb 18, 2013 Pandora rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s
I have to give this one two stars because this author has done much better with her other books. For me it took a very long time to get to the main plot the hidden brother. The hidden brother is not discoverd and identified until page 70. So, there wasn't much suspense for me until we got to this point.

I was also disappointed by the ending which failed to give off a pay off. Best way I can say this without giving away to much is imagine Shiloh without the other two books. A Shiloh where you neve
...more
Tbperez
Twenty Word Summary: Three kids who each have brothers fighting in the war, they aren't much of friends but they can become friends.

Passage: For a moment or two, no one said anything. I saw mother glance at the blue star hanging in our living room window, and I knew what she was thinking. Thats star meant Jimmy was overseas fighting in a war Hitler started. There was a star in Elizabeths window, too, because her brother Joe was in navy. That summer, there were stars in lots of windows in college
...more
Sheryl Karrip
Jan 12, 2012 Sheryl Karrip rated it it was amazing
Stepping On The Cracks
by:Mary Downing Hahn

There are 2 girls Elizabeth & Margret. they like to have adventure but wherever they go the boys are their making fun of them. They get made fun of a lot by Gordy and His Boys! Their nicknames are Lizard and Magpie!

They have a tree house close to the train tracks, but they are not allowed past the tracks. One day they are feeling brave enough to go into the woods, which is past the train tracks the 2 girls are brave enough to follow there enemies t
...more
Giada
Oct 01, 2013 Giada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book! Stepping on the Cracks is a non-violent and entertaining book about world war two. Though it is not violent, it involves lots of death. The story is about several families but two main girls who help a deserter hide so he doesn't have to be drafted to go to war. But the only reason he doesn't want to go to war is because he thinks killing is wrong. This story taught me it is ok to have your own opinion. Stuart, the deserter, was never a strong boy. Having a hard lif ...more
Sandra Stiles
Elizabeth and Maggie are best friends and they share a common enemy, Gordy. All of them have brothers serving in the war. Gordy is constantly picking on the girls and he steals the wood from their treehouse. When the girls decide to get revenge they make a discovery. Gordy threatens them if they tell anyone his secret. They decide to make him build them a new treehouse in exchange for their silence. Elizabeth and Maggie aren't sure how they feel about Gordy's secret. When things seem to get out ...more
Celeste Spangler
Not bad; not great. The book certainly brings up many of the typical questions about WWII in particular, and war in general. It doesn't really present definitive answers, but these questions don't really have definitive answers, and this book might be a way of opening a conversation with younger people. I didn't quite feel satisfied at the end of the book; but I think it was more to do with the original situation presented (bullying) was dropped in favor of the bigger questions, and not really s ...more
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USA Geography Cha...: Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn 1 1 Dec 29, 2014 01:23AM  
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10006
I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland. Our block was loaded with kids my age. We spent hours outdoors playing "Kick the Can" and "Mother, May I" as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom. In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory -- the woods on the other side of the t ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Gordy Smith (3 books)
  • Following My Own Footsteps
  • As Ever, Gordy

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