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Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2011 When twelve-year-old Taylor is transplanted from city life to a rural farm a hundred miles away, things do not go so well. Farm work is tougher than the family realized, and they struggle with the new demands made upon them by a life that involves obstreperous livestock and constant physical labor. There are injuries, excrement encounters (Taylor accidentally goes to school with chicken poop in her hair), animal deaths, school problems (see above re: chicken poop), and parental tension. When Taylor’s new pal, Megan, suggests a plan to get her off the farm, Taylor soon throws herself into it, collecting demerit points and bad grades at school and leaving pointed articles (“Farming Can Be Dangerous to Your Health”) around the house. As things escalate, Taylor’s mom and dad reluctantly decide to sell the farm, until Taylor’s dad has an accident, one of the family’s pregnant sheep simultaneously begins her labor, and Taylor must work alone to deliver the triplet lambs. How are you gonna take them back to Minneapolis after they’ve delivered lambs on the farm? Friend gives Taylor a credible, engaging voice and peppers her narrative with plenty of humor; after a difficult time chasing sheep ends with Taylor and her dad prone, covered in sheep poop, and surrounded by the ovines, her dad turns to her and says, “Well, I’ve enjoyed this quality time we’ve spent together today, haven’t you?” It’s refreshing to see a city-folk-turned-farmers story in which real problems and struggles occur, but Friend also effectively shows the rewarding side of farm life. Hand this slim volume to city kids who dream of farm living or farm kids who will get a kick out of seeing their world through fresh eyes. JH - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2011 Gr 4–7—Moving can be a traumatic experience for kids of any age but when Taylor McNamara's parents move from Minneapolis to a small rural area to fulfill their dream of owning a farm filled with sheep, chickens, and goats, the 12-year-old is miserable. She feels deprived of weekends at the Mall of America and, worse yet, there's no cable television. Barn Boot Blues offers a humorous look at what it takes to fit in at a new school and make new friends. Taylor's sense of humor helps her out when she almost misses the bus on the first day of school and ends up wearing her barn boots all day, which draws snickers from students and lands her the nickname of "Boots." She learns to take an umbrella when gathering eggs to avoid another chicken-poop-in-the-hair incident and excels at spinning yarn, especially when it allows her to watch her favorite television program. While the story line is a bit slow to develop and the responsibility that Taylor's parents thrust upon her seems a bit much for someone who has never lived on a farm before, the girl's sarcastic wit gets her through most situations and eventually helps her and her family maintain a united front when times get tough. It's Taylor's ability to rise to a challenge and understand the meaning of friendship that turns this book back on course.—Cheryl Ashton, Amherst Public Library, OH - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.