|Elsie Mae has something to say|
Author: Cavanaugh, Nancy J.
With a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt and unexpected help from her Hallelujah-spouting cousin, Henry James, Elsie Mae tries to prevent a company from building a canal through the Okefenokee Swamp.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 194277
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/17)
School Library Journal (00/08/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2017 For the past several years, 11-year-old Elsie has gone to stay with her grandparents on Honey Island in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp. Elsie loves everything about the swamp, so this summer, she writes a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking for his help in protecting it. When she arrives at Honey Island, she finds two surprises: a dog, which she names Huck, and her cousin Henry James, an aspiring preacher who’s practicing on Elsie Mae. When the children and Huck get embroiled in a local mystery, Elsie Mae learns that a sacrifice is sometimes required in order to save something important. While this historical fiction novel isn’t strictly accurate—FDR did protect the swamp, though it wasn’t over the course of one summer or inspired by a girl’s letter—the period details, unusual setting, light dialect, well-developed characters, and the affirming, gradual progression of Elsie Mae and Henry James’ friendship makes for an engrossing story. An author’s note offers more insight into the real story of FDR’s protection of the swamp. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2017 Gr 4–6—How can one person make a difference in the world? Should they watch, listen, and learn, or shout the truth at the top of their lungs? For Elsie Mae, the youngest in her family, doing "something big and important in the world" is going to involve speaking up. Elsie Mae comes from swamp people, and unlike her parents and siblings, she is most at home deep in the Okefenokee, where her grandparents and uncles pursue a traditional swamper life—hunting, fishing and living off the land and the water—a life that is now threatened by the development plans of a shipping company. As Elsie Mae prepares to spend the summer with her grandparents, she sends a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt, begging him to protect the unique environment of her home. Her wish comes true, with the help of her bible-thumping nuisance of a cousin Henry James, her capable uncles, some reporters, some hog thieves, and a nosy bloodhound named Huck. But will saving the swamp mean losing the swampers' way of life? Cavanagh's sweet and engaging historical fiction style perfectly captures the special quality of life in the Okefenokee, from 'gators to biscuits to good neighbors. Elsie Mae is a strong, complicated heroine, surrounded by complex characters. The novel also does a good job highlighting the complications of federal conservation for those who live in and use a wild place. Cavanagh collapses the time line (the book takes place in 1933, the Okefenokee wasn't protected until 1937), and fictionalizes the order of events, which will frustrate some readers, but an author's note appended to the story makes these choices clear. VERDICT Recommended for fans of historical fiction, nature, and determined young heroes. A great read to pair with J.E. Thompson's The Girl From Felony Bay.—Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.