Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Saving Strawberry Farm

Saving Strawberry Farm

Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:   Rachel Isadora 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
HarperCollins, 2005   ISBN: 978-0688174002

It is hard time for Davey, his family and all their friends and neighbors. It is so hot that not much is growing and for farmers this means that they have little to sell for money. Davey's family cannot afford to buy ice anymore and there are no pennies to spare for candy. One day, when he is at the store, Davey hears that Miss Elsie's strawberry farm is going to be auctioned off because she cannot pay her mortgage on it. Everyone around loves Miss Elsie and no one wants to see her lose her home.

So the townsfolk decide that they will make sure that the auction is a penny auction. By keeping the bids very low they hope that they and Miss Elsie will be able to buy the farm back from the bank. Davey takes on the job of letting as many people as possible know about the auction in the hope that everyone in the town will cooperate to help Miss Elsie buy back her farm.

On the day of the auction everyone is too nervous to make the first bid so Davey, feeling scared, stands up and makes the first bid for a penny. Soon the auction is off and running, the price going up by pennies, nickels and dimes until at last Miss Elsie makes the last bid and Strawberry farm is once more hers.

This wonderful story about life in America during the Depression years is both interesting and moving. We see how people in small communities worked together to help one another. They were all in the same boat, they were all poor, and they were all worried about the future. In addition they knew that part of their strength in this terrible time was to stand together. Deborah Hopkinson has once again created a picture book which takes the reader back in time and which helps young people learn something about their past.