Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 1-4-It is 1933, and Ruth is feeling the effects of the Great Depression. Her father has a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps, but it takes him hundreds of miles from home. With her mother also working and the school closed because the town cannot afford to hire a teacher and heat the building, she is pessimistic about the future for herself and her younger sister, Janie. Their mother is a constant source of optimism, telling the nine-year-old, "We don't have much but remember, there's always someone who is worse off than you are. So count your lucky stars that you've got what you've got." Then one morning Ruth decides that she will instruct the younger children in the neighborhood. She teaches them their letters by writing in leftover biscuit flour and uses pebbles to illustrate basic math. An author's note provides historical context about the Depression while the story itself concentrates on the human elements. The illustrations reflect the family's love and warmth. Rich, vibrant colors light the home and the surrounding countryside. Pinks, blues, and yellows are repeated in the characters' clothing and the flowers in the garden. Sepia-toned images are used for flashbacks when Ruth considers previous events. This title succeeds in capturing a particular time period as well as in delivering a timeless message.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
In Riding, Janie goes with her father on a bus to hear Martin Luther King Jr. In Lucky, Ruth's school is closed during the Great Depression. Both stories purport to show a child's interpretation of a time in history, though their voices waver unconvincingly between naive and profound. The realistic-looking paintings, though stiff, make good use of light and shadow. [Review covers these Tales of Young Americans titles: Riding to Washington and The Lucky Star.] (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Counting "lucky stars" isn't easy when you own the world's ugliest hand-me-down shoes, your school has closed and your dad is permanently out of town. Ruth, nine, wants to pursue her dream of education, but how can she do that during the Great Depression? With her mother's encouragement ("Momma's sky was full of [lucky] stars") in her ears, she sees how she can make a difference. There is no money for books, paper and pencils, but after the daily biscuits are made, Ruth sees the scrim of flour left on the table as a blackboard and she uses it to teach her little sister Janie and the other younger children in the community to read and write. The gentle text and soft illustrations caress the subject yet never go deep. Young's positive, feel-good story succeeds in showing how applying a good attitude and creativity will make life shine brighter than a lucky star, but an overlong text and bland, pastel illustrations that fail to create a strong sense of period weaken the book's effectiveness. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.