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Newbery Archive > The Honor Books from 1958 - D&A January 2019

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Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Come join us to discuss any or all of the following noteworthy children's books from the late 50s!

Tom Paine, Freedom's Apostle by Leo Gurko
The Great Wheel by Robert Lawson
Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
The Horsecatcher by Mari Sandoz


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Because I now have access to a university library, it looks like I'll be able to read all of these!

Notably, I just last month encountered a recommendation fo The Horsecatcher, in Horse Crazy!: Fun Facts, Ideas, Activities, Projects, Games, and Know-How for Horse-Loving Kids (which I found delightful even though I'm only mildly interested in horses),

Enright and Lawson are of course known to members of this reading club already as they've already been recognized by Newbery (and Caldecott) committees.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
The Great Wheel is excellent historical fiction. A little laudatory, a smidge 'racist,' (not to worry, but do let your children know that people from Ireland generally want to be called 'Micks' for example), and a bit draggy in the middle for those of us not fascinated by every detail of engineering.

But it also has plenty of Lawson's distinctive illustrations, and a more interesting people story towards the end (which, to be fair, might be more boring to those who liked the heart of the book about the construction of the wheel).

I wish we lived in the America portrayed here. And maybe we did, back in 1893. Possibly even, for some, in 1957. It is an inspiring read and maybe a few youngsters can work hard and accomplish great things even now.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Praised for swift action and beauty of language, The Horsecatcher is Mari Sandoz's first novel about the Indians she knew so well. Without ever leaving the world of a Cheyenne tribe in the 1830s, she creates a youthful protagonist many readers will recognize in themselves. Young Elk is expected to be a warrior, but killing even an enemy sickens him. He would rather catch and tame the mustangs that run in herds. Sandoz makes it clear that his determination to be a horsecatcher will require a moral and physical courage equal to that of any warrior. And if he must earn the right to live as he wishes, he must also draw closer to family and community.

Nebraska Press
https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/uni...


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
I read a total of about 1/3 the book. Maybe because I have a cold, maybe because I'm not interested in adventure (almost no dialogue, lots of descriptions of battles and horsecatching), but I, personally, did not enjoy The Horsecatcher.

I do find the theme of forging one's own path to be valuable. I can't imagine why the Cheyennes had almost no respect for men who were not warriors. The Elk is ashamed to be unwilling to kill, embarrassed to be strong enough, wise enough, to capture wild horses.

Definitely a valuable book.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Based on this biography, https://amsaw.org/amsaw-ithappenedinh..., I appreciate the author's insights into the cultures of the Plains Indians. The novel is not written from 'Own Voices' unfortunately, but good enough... it certainly seemed both accurate and respectful as I was reading.

I also can imagine that the Newbery Committee may possibly have been honoring Sandoz for her body of work, as this children's novel was written after several other works, including histories.


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QNPoohBear | 1801 comments I loved Elizabeth Enright as a child and recently discovered The Melendys series and loved that. I have to reread Gone Away Lake and see if I like it as much as I did in third or fourth grade.


message 8: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Jan 11, 2019 05:46PM) (new)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
I'm looking forward to Gone Away Lake. I recall not being as pleased w/ it as w/ Thimble Summer, but that was a long time ago, so we'll see.

Meanwhile I'm about 1/2way through Tom Paine, Freedom's Apostle and am very surprised by how much I'm enjoying it. I'm loving learning a little bit at a time about this critical event in my country's history via good books like this, and The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, and even Johnny Tremain.

I wish I could understand why some appeal to me and others don't. Why do I like Johnny Tremain and not Rifles for Watie, for example? Heck if I know.


message 9: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1801 comments I think I too liked Thimble Summer better than Gone Away Lake. I know I owned a paperback copy of Thimble Summer but don't remember anything about either of them. It's too cold to go outside so I may have to wait to to the library again.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
So, yeah, I both learned a lot from, and enjoyed, Leo Gurko's biography of Paine. Now, the author clearly admired his subject, and probably let his bias put a little spin on certain details, but I'm still impressed and ready to add Paine's name to a list of heroes.

Did you know that he spent the first 37 years of his life as an Englishman? And that he'd only been here a year when he started to aid in the cause for independence? I didn't, and it's something to think about.

Also something to realize is that Sir Isaac Newton was at the height of his fame in this era, and that Paine, and others, very firmly believed in reason and logic, confidently predicting that Man would, if shown the reasonable, logical, & benevolent path, give up instincts & impulses and make 'the Age of Reason' a reality. (But Paine never denied God, only the Bible and the Church, claiming instead the God of Nature.)


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Enright's book, I dunno. I've met the old people, and I like them, but when I was a child I probably would have wanted more focus to be on the children. I feel as if Enright is being entirely too dismissive of Foster, conveniently bring Davey to play with him. And Julian & Portia just seem to be there to reflect the summer, the goats, the lake, the oldsters.

I like how the old man reads old newspapers because 'you know you've survived.'

Btw, I'm reading the ebook from OpenLibrary and it's a blurry misery... it is widely avl. in audio at libraries (Overdrive) and I bet that would be better, if you can't get the print.


message 12: by Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish, Newbery Club host (last edited Jan 13, 2019 03:53PM) (new)

Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Oh, and of course the illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush are marvelous. If you do read the audiobook, you still want to borrow openlibrary's copy briefly to see them.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
And Enright's references. It's worth looking up, now that we can, what a "deal table" is, and a "baize door" and "Lieutenant Kije Suite." Back in the day I didn't know these and had no way of finding out... which certainly would have been frustrating.


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Manybooks | 7662 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "And Enright's references. It's worth looking up, now that we can, what a "deal table" is, and a "baize door" and "Lieutenant Kije Suite." Back in the day I didn't know these and had no way of findi..."

I have not read this but the fact that in Thimble Summer, Enright has an allusion to the Wagner's Ring Cycle and here Russian classical music (Lieutenant Kije Suite) makes me wonder if she was really into classical music.


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments I don't think it necessarily means that Enright had a particular devotion. Portions of both the Ring and Kije are very well known (the Troika is a popular piece around winter time, as it's a sleigh ride tune), and it's worth remembering that in the time before The Beatles and before American public school education decided the arts were just a frill, children would have had some exposure to music appreciation.

American culture was different before the 1960s. The "us against them" of teenagers vs. adults wasn't being drummed into them incessantly by the media, so kids (especially bright ones) weren't as opposed to listening to "longhair" music (meaning classical, at least the "hits" of the western canon). While popular music did exist, classical music was much more a part of everyday life. Also, Julian is a particular kind of boy - he "knows the names of all the things in the world" and although he has the stereotypical nerd appearance, he's athletic and he's "very, very nice." I think the classical music fits his character well.

I note that in the next paragraph (p.92), Enright mentions Wuthering Heights and on the next page it mentions the Habanera from Carmen - these references may be a way of indicating "Culture" and may also serve as subtle plugs intended for child readers. I see Madeleine L'Engle's numerous references to Bach in several of her books in a similar light.

The way that children interact with adults in children's literature is of great interest to me. Too many of them, especially recent ones, treat adults as either the enemy or as clueless, if they include them at all. Gone Away Lake is a particularly special case as the inter-generational friendship plays such a prominent role in the story. Julian is listening to Kije and the Paytons are listening to Carmen - classical music is something that they share.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Ok, so I'm done, and underwhelmed. There's no conflict, or growth, or anything substantial, that I can see. Please someone theorize what the Newbery committee admired about Gone-Away Lake. And if you like it, please tell us why. I'm sure I must be missing something!


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Fitzgerald | 367 comments I think it's a great summer book. Summer at Buckhorn is another. Swallows and Amazons, of course. Kids left on their own discover a secret world - that's a pretty appealing idea. And there is at least some conflict in Foster's escapade. If you want kids in real danger, may I recommend Ivan Southall.

Noel Streatfeild liked it (and others by EE) so much that she dedicated her summer book (The Growing Summer aka The Magic Summer) to Enright. At least that's my interpretation as to the dedication.

I am not a fan of the sequel. My recollection is that it lacks the "discovery" aspect and that's a huge loss. You reunite with the characters, but it doesn't have the spark because everything is already known. I find it does not live up to the standard of the original and don't consider it to be essential reading. My advice is simply to skip it.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Hm. Ty.


message 19: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5939 comments Mod
I read “Gone-Away Lake” several years ago and I really liked it although honestly I can’t say it’s one that has really stayed with me. I think what appealed to me was, as Michael touched on, how free the children were, how connected to nature and the magic of ordinary days. My oldest son was a baby when I read it and it made my heart ache that I couldn’t give him that world, though I certainly try my darndest within the confines we have these days.


message 20: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5939 comments Mod
Cheryl,,As to your other question of why it was found honor-worthy, I’m not sure it was that much of a stand-out compared to other books I’ve read though I don’t know what the competition was like that year.


message 21: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 39 comments I read The Horsecatcher and thoroughly enjoyed it. I could hardly put it down. I loved the atmospheric writing style of Mari Sandoz.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 22: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7662 comments Mod
Gone-Away Lake

Elizabeth Enright's 1957 novel Gone-Away Lake (which won the author a Newbery Honour designation in 1958) is a gentle and charmingly engaging vacation adventure type of story, the kind I used to very much enjoy and appreciate reading as a child and tween and still if truth be told often and honestly do prefer to adventure and mystery children's novels that have madness, mayhem, family dysfunction and dystopia as main thematics. And indeed, I have totally loved loved loved the quietness and almost caressing gentleness of Gone-Away Lake (and really do rather regret that I had never experienced this novel as a child), that sense of the magic of discovery, of inter-gerenrational friendships which alway are depicted and described as unforced and natural, and yes also that main protagonists (main explorers) cousins Portia and Julian are a boy and a girl and that their friendship is ALWAYS simply and beautifully about them being simpatico and kindred spirits with a love of the outdoors and exploration, with their gender never even being remotely an issue, ever (and of course that Portia and Julian are permitted and even encouraged to explore the great outdoors without fear, that even once they discover the dilapidated remnants of Tarrigo, Gone-Away Lake and reclusive residents Uncle Pindar and Aunt Minnehaha, there are never any feelings and/or considerations presented by Elizabeth Enright that Julian and Portia should not be out and about exploring, which rather unfortunately does in more contemporary children's novels of a similar type of thematics far too often seem to be the case).

And indeed, even the (and rather expected on my part) episode in Gone-Away Lake where Portia's younger brother Foster ends up following Julian and her (because he is jealous of them and their secrecy regarding their explorations and wants to know what they have been hiding) and ends up having to be rescued by Uncle Pin from the Gulper (from the swamp mud hole), while there is definitely and certainly a bit of presented and possible danger included in this chapter of Gone-Away Lake, even this scenario is (and which I for one also do very much appreciate) rather peacefully and unexcitedly represented, and thankfully, without much if any uncalled for and harsh criticisms of either Portia/Julian or for that matter little Foster, as Elizabeth Enright simply and realistically points out that Foster was getting more than a bit annoyed that Julian and Portia were always out and about alone and also quite tight-lipped regarding what they were engaged in and that Foster was therefore a bit jealous and of course also curious and decides to follow them, to do his own bit of exploration (which does end up with him stuck in the Gulper but not with any real or lasting negative repercussions and consequences for him).


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
It is nice to have a story that's more realistic, in some ways, than the melodramatic adventures & dysfunctions that are so common nowadays. Gender isn't a meaningful issue, a near-drowning isn't made a bigger deal than it is, there are no actual villains... it's just a story about a lucky discovery and good people.

Remind me, please, what happened to the lake, how did it drain?


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Manybooks | 7662 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "It is nice to have a story that's more realistic, in some ways, than the melodramatic adventures & dysfunctions that are so common nowadays. Gender isn't a meaningful issue, a near-drowning isn't m..."

That is never specifically stated although Aunt Minnehaha said that it started to diminish once there was a dam built.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Okay, ty.


message 26: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 1801 comments Gone-Away Lake
This is a charming and delightful, old-fashioned book about the simple pleasures of being a kid. There's much emphasis on nature and spending time out of doors. I would have loved to have had such an exciting adventure as to meet real life Victorians still living the antiquated Victorian lifestyle. I would have been beside myself with excitement to enter their world. The story would have been better if it was a time slip novel like Fog Magic and it is not without its faults. The story is very very dated. The details of modern day life in the 1950s are now as antiquated to children today as the 1890s were to the children of the 1950s! Who would ever allow their children to travel by train alone, wander through woods and swamps alone and talk to strangers?! No, this adventure could just not happen in today's world of daycare centers, helicopter parents, SmartPhones, YouTube and video games. It's just as much a story of days gone by as the delightful stories Minnehaha and Pin tell.

This is a sweetly nostalgic novel for adults now. Children of today will find it too boring and old-fashioned. Plus, it's not a graphic novel and doesn't have big colorful pictures or a Netflix/Amazon show to go with it. The story is charming in the moment but I am sure I will forget it again before my next reread. I don't remember anything about this book but I am certain I read it when I was about 10.


message 27: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7662 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Gone-Away Lake
This is a charming and delightful, old-fashioned book about the simple pleasures of being a kid. There's much emphasis on nature and spending time out of doors. I would..."


But it is kind of sad that that many children of today would find this story boring, as I certainly would have adored this when I was ten or so.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
I guess we have to be careful in making broad statements, too. I do know kids who are encouraged to explore* and have very limited screen time. I'd bet some of them would like this better than I did, even!

*though maybe not quite as much as in this book... I think of Utah's dilemma with Free-Range Parenting, and the popularity of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.

Otoh, even five decades ago on the farm they worried about me when I took a long walk and got out of earshot....


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Manybooks | 7662 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "I guess we have to be careful in making broad statements, too. I do know kids who are encouraged to explore* and have very limited screen time. I'd bet some of them would like this better than I di..."

I had that happen at my grandparents's place in Germany. They all thought I had gone "exploring" and were looking for me (and angry at me) although I was just in my room reading and got sucked into the story.


Cheryl has hopes her life will calm down soonish (cherylllr) | 6440 comments Mod
Children definitely need some free time to entertain themselves, find their own passion. Who knows, I might now be more fit because more into long walks if I hadn't been discouraged then, but just given some advice and maybe a whistle or something. Every loving parent of every era struggles with this, I'm sure.


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