|Orphan band of Springdale|
Author: Nesbet, Anne
It's 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta's life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. She finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.00
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 194159
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 73244
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/18)
School Library Journal (02/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/04/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 4–6—Gusta Neubronner arrives at her grandmother Hoopes's house in Springdale, ME, with a suitcase, a letter from her mother, and her French horn. Her pro-union father left her at the bus station while fleeing government agents. The anxieties of 1941 plague Gusta in her temporary home. School children mock her poor vision which oculist Mr. Bertmann corrects in exchange for Gusta's help with his carrier pigeons. Xenophobia and poverty threaten the orphans Gramma Hoopes shelters even as Gusta, orphan Josie, and cousin Bess form a band of female solidarity. As troubles mount, Gusta seeks her great grandfather's legendary wishing coin. Images of small-town Maine in a swiftly changing era fill Nesbet's story with a warm coziness, despite Gusta's struggles. Magical forest walks, collecting and cleaning eggs for sale, and visits to the family graveyard make Springdale seem like Brigadoon. The startling change Gusta experiences when she can see objects around her helps readers view every detail of Springdale with Gusta's newfound clarity. The dialogue is catchy, and Gusta's internal monologues share her tremendous curiosity and friendliness with readers. This is a good pairing for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War that Saved My Life, both for the time period and its sense of pathos. At some points, one does feel Nesbet juggles too many topics—a small-town scandal, unionization, immigration, poverty, and school squabbles. Each one could use a bit more attention. VERDICT Solid historical fiction with a memorable heroine.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2018 In 1941, with her union-organizer father fleeing government agents, and her mother working in New York City, 11-year-old Gusta is sent to live in Springdale, Maine, with her grandmother and aunt, who run a small orphanage in their home. Gusta gradually adjusts to the town, making friends, working at home, and earning the money for her new glasses by helping the oculist, Mr. Bertmann, with his shop and his hobby of training carrier pigeons. But when she attempts to sell her beloved French horn to help her family, she loses both the instrument and the money. Nesbet bases her novel on stories of her mother’s hardscrabble childhood in southern Maine. The seemingly quiet setting has its share of injustice and pain: a mill owner firing a badly injured worker, locals threatening neighbors with German-sounding names, and the dark, painful secret behind a child’s unknown parentage. Intelligent, empathetic, and brave up to a point, Gusta is the most complex of the many well-drawn characters whose stories intersect, sometimes in surprising ways. A rewarding historical novel. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.