Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hoping For Rain: The Dust Bowl Adventures of Patty and Earl Buckler

Hoping For Rain: The Dust Bowl Adventures of Patty and Earl Buckler

Kate Connell
Historical Fiction
For ages 8 to 10
National Geographic, 2004   ISBN: 978-0792269038

This is the story of a family, the Bucklers, who live in Texas County in Oklahoma and who are also living in the region that was to become known as the "Dust Bowl." There are the children, Patty, Pete and Earl, their parents, grandparents, and their uncle Jack. Through their letters and diary entries we are able to experience the Dust Bowl days with this farming family. There was much to endure and endure they did, determined to stay on their farm even though rain never fell, and even when dust storms made them sick in body and heart. Crops withered in the fields and farm animals sickened and often died.

Well written and excellently researched text introduces and closes each chapter, providing background information on the times and on the fictional but very lifelike Buckler family. Then we follow the story of this brave group who try to find nuggets of happiness and good cheer in their daily lives. It is heart wrenching to read about their continuing misfortunes. Eventually Patty?s family has no choice but to pack up and move away for a while, at least "until the drought breaks." Her grandparents and uncle decide that they are going to "stick things out" and stay on at the farm, hoping for rain and for relief from the terrible "dusters."

The words of the Buckler family brings the days in the 1930?s to life, showing us how hard it must have been to live in that place at that time and also showing us that this was a time in American history when people needed great courage and determination to survive.

Exceptional photographs from the period are found throughout this excellent little book and there is a glossary in the back.