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Miracles on Maple Hill
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Newbery Archive > The Medal Winner from 1957 - Miracles on Maple Hill - D&A September 2018

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message 1: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Sep 06, 2018 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Miracles On Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen by Virginia Sorensen

The scenes of sugaring off, and with the truant officer, should be accurate, because while Sorenson was writing this she was actually in the sugar bush with a 'hired man' who was not too long out of reform school, and she discussed her work with him, taking his advice when fitting.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Time to track down a copy of Miracles on Maple Hill. I don't have time to look now, but I think I saw it at the PA univ. site (see intro. thread for link), and I wouldn't be surprised if it's at the website Open Library.

I got lucky and found a very nice pb at a thrift store last week!

When you get do get your copy, note the illustrations. I've always enjoyed the work by Joe and Beth Krush.


QNPoohBear | 1820 comments I don't have any memory of reading this book as a child but I did read it several years ago and really liked it. Good thing I wrote a review because it wasn't memorable enough to stick in my mind. I don't recall the illustrations at all.

My review:
The plot is interesting enough to have held my attention and kept me reading longer than I had intended. The description of Maple Hill is amazingly detailed. Though I've been to a sugar shack and lived in New England almost my whole life, I could easily imagine Maple Hill (which is in Pennsylvania) and everything Marly was experiencing. It was fun to view the world through an eager, innocent child's eyes.

Marly can be a bit annoying in her eagerness and abundance of energy but it's precisely her eagerness and innocence that makes her appealing. The Chrises are wonderful people, larger than life and I can see them popping off the page. The hermit also leaps to life. The rest of the cast of characters are fairly bland.


message 4: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2481 comments Mod
I probably last read this book in the 1970s. I don't remember anything about it. I'll see if I have time to tackle it this month.


message 5: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 7703 comments Mod
Beverly wrote: "I probably last read this book in the 1970s. I don't remember anything about it. I'll see if I have time to tackle it this month."

I just started and while I do not have much to say as of yet, I do right from the beginning kind of feel that the writing style is a bit distracting and alienating. Hope that this feeling changes.


Kerstin | 39 comments I read the book as a break from more serious reading, and I thought it absolutely darling! Following these two kids roaming the woods and discovering all sorts of treasures brings back memories from my own childhood :)
What struck me was how few demands everyone is making. The people we encounter live simple lives but are content with what they have. A solid family, good neighbors and friends, is all that's required to keep you grounded.


Steve Shilstone | 185 comments Circle of life. The four seasons. How maple syrup is produced. A worthwhile entertaining read featuring some well crafted sentences, such as: 'Mother shifted gears, and the car was a big black noise in the middle of a huge white quietness.' Nice friendly community.
I do, however, wonder what Shirley Jackson would have done with this cast of characters and setting.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Oh, I better get reading to catch up to these interesting & diverse reactions!


message 9: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2481 comments Mod
Steve wrote: "I do, however, wonder what Shirley Jackson would have done with this cast of characters and setting."

LOL!


message 10: by Michael (last edited Sep 04, 2018 07:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments Do you mean Shirley Jackson's fiction or the kind of stuff in her autobiographical works (Life Among the Savages, Raising Demons)? I can see possibilities with either....


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
Ok this is a terrific read. Of a spirit with all those 'healing power of nature' books we've discussed elsewhere, like The Secret Garden. All those details about bloodroot, and cats killing cardinals, and the hermit's story & mention of Thoreau... I would have really enjoyed those when I was a child.

This time I like the note that, instead of draining the marsh and killing cowslip, Mr. Chris puts up a fence to keep his cows from eating the plants that they shouldn't. And I like how the mother comes to grips with letting Marly be more adventurous, even though she does still think of her as a 'tomboy' and is not sure that's a good thing.

And I love the illustrations.

I think it could still be enjoyed by today's children, even if only if read as if 'historical fiction.'


message 13: by Kerstin (last edited Sep 16, 2018 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kerstin | 39 comments Cheryl wrote: "Ok this is a terrific read. Of a spirit with all those 'healing power of nature' books we've discussed elsewhere, like The Secret Garden. All those details about bloodroot, and cats k..."

For today's kids we're talking about their grandparent's or even great-grandparent's generation. So I agree, it would be a piece of historical fiction, to get a glimpse of how they grew up. The background is WWII, and how the entire family suffered, even though that happens before the story begins. For that generation of children it was all about going from abnormal to normal. Marly and Joe are not rebellious, they savor and cherish the small every-day things from their father's first fleeting smiles to discovering baby foxes on their rambles. After years of being forced apart as a family they are now together again and gained a supportive community on top.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
And I like how the book included the difficult bits, the mentions of the challenges of the war, without focusing entirely on it or making it a book filled with negativity.


message 15: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (last edited Sep 27, 2018 08:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2481 comments Mod
I did get a copy and finished reading it last night. I really liked the story better than I thought I would. I did wonder at the father's PTSD being so easily "cured" by living out in the country, but at the same time, am glad that he did become much less tense and angry with his family. I did feel for impulsive Marly and how she felt she lived in the shadow of her older brother, who did not want her tagging along on his solitary explorations. But she also was the one that wanted everyone in the family to be happy, and happy with each other. And, like Kerstin, I liked that the family was all together, and were able to agree on staying on at Maple Hill. Being from the southwest, I loved all the descriptions of the Pennsylvania countryside, the different flowers and plants, and the descriptions of the whole syrup making process.


Kerstin | 39 comments Beverly wrote: " I did wonder at the father's PTSD being so easily "cured" by living out in the country, but at the same time, am glad that he did become much less tense and angry with his family."

It is a children's book, so I wouldn't expect the father's post-war issues to be predominant or in any detail. What is easy for the adult to see is that he has major difficulties transitioning back into family life and society.
For the most part he is alone on the farm for many months and has a purpose at the same time cultivating a garden. Here in these peaceful surroundings he can move from death and destruction in all its ugliness to tending what is alive and beautiful. I don't think all issues are resolved by that. They found a way to move on and keeping the family together, which I think is pretty accurate for the WWII generation.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6447 comments Mod
If you're interested in how different generations and different cultures cope with shell shock/ war trauma/ etc., you probably want to read at least one chapter of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche.


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