Monday, February 6, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Hill Hawk Hattie

Welcome to another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!  Today's book is special as it was written by current my ICL (Institute of Children's Literature) Instructor. It's an historical novel taking place in the rafting era of the last 1800's. 

by: Clara Gillow Clark
Candlewick Press 2003

First - from the book jacket:
Pa used to call Ma and me his girls. Now, he just says, "girl," orders me around with curse words like I’m nothing. I’m not nothing, though, ’cause I feel too mean inside to be that.

When Ma died, she took with her the sugar that kept Hattie and Pa sweet. Now Hattie can't lose that ornery feeling, and Pa stops calling her "girl" altogether and wants her to dress as a boy and join him on his next river-rafting trip.

Hattie finds herself working alongside two other Hill Hawks - loners who live up in the hills above the river valley. Her pluck is sorely tested as she fields Pa’s criticism, plunges down waterfalls, and tries to keep the river men and her new friend, Jasper, from discovering her true identity.

Gritty and full of heart, Clara Gillow Clark’s fascinating historical novel rides the rapids of a tumultuous father-daughter relationship. It’s a story of how death can undo a family - and how, against all odds, it can unite them.

This description really sums up the background and themes of the book.  I really liked that the book was written in first person in a terse sort of way. It drew me into the character of Hattie and made me feel like I was back in the 1800's on the river with the Hill Hawks.

What really makes the book is the relationship between Hattie and her father. The end really helps put into perspective why things happened the way they did. As an eleven-year-old Hattie can't understand her Pa and how the events of her Ma's death have changed their life. But by the end, it all comes full circle.

HILL HAWK HATTIE also has two sequels which I plan to check out: HATTIE ON HER WAY and SECRETS OF GREYMOOR.

Thanks for stopping by and watch for my next MMGM - February 20th -which will include a great giveaway!