Launi K. Anderson
Linda Paulson Adams
Deseret Book , Cinnamon Tree , 1998 . Softcover:
Suggested retail price: $5.95 (US)
(This review is one of those which are sadly overdue. I apologize. Iread the book in time, honest, I really did.)
Clarisssa's Heart is the sequel to Clarissa's Crossing, andtells the story of a young girl who has lost her mother in the firstbook (one I have not read), who travels across the plains to Utah byhandcart with her father, brother, aunt, and pet cat. The targetaudience for this book is Latter-day Saint girls from about ages8-12.
The characters are believable and easily accessible to young peopleand adults alike. I found, as with many young children's chapterbooks I have read, that the plot was fairly predictable and simple tofollow, but this is not a fault so much as a trademark of the genre.The vocabulary is also simple enough for a reader starting out with"real" chapter books without pictures, and includes a "Glossary" atthe end for period terms that Clarissa uses, which may be helpful forsome. There are a few small black and white illustrations woventhroughout the text. It would be appropriate to read aloud to youngerchildren as well.
Launi Anderson has written several of these slim volumes in the"Latter-day Daughters" series published by Deseret Book which competewith the popular mainstream "American Girls" series.
My nine-year old daughter enjoys the three Latter-day Daughtersseries books we have, but said openly, "The American Girls books arebetter." I asked her why. She said the plots were "more interesting."I couldn't get her to elaborate much more than that, though. I haveyet to read the "American Girls" for myself to answer that questionfrom an adult standpoint.
She did like, however, reading the continued story of Clarissa. Inthe first book, her family crossed the ocean from England. Her motherhas died previously.
In this volume, the family heads out to Utah by handcart and beginstheir second journey, traveling across the plains through the summer.The book was a fun and eventful read, told in the first person fromClarissa's narrative. Indian braves want to purchase Clarissa and herAunt Polly for squaws because of their bright red hair, and keepreturning with more and more blankets and ponies, among otherinteresting adventures. In a touching moment, Clarissa makes asacrifice for her brother who is very sick: a hand-carved necklacegiven her by a dear male friend, Eli, on the boat to America. Theircompany meets a man selling fresh goods to the starving pioneers forwhatever they can pay.
& & & & 'Now then, missy. What d'ya say? What good's a neck bob when you'reneedin' soup? Here, I'll even throw in a few carrots." He chuckled.
& & & & I thought of Andrew calling for broth, and I remembered the othertired, half-sick people in our company. As skinny as the bird was, itwould make a fair pot of soup. But how could I .& .& . ? [ .& .& . ]
& & & & With my hand still protecting the shell from his gaze, I closed myfingers tightly around it. I felt cold and sick inside, and my eyesbegan to sting. Shutting them tightly, I held my head up andwhispered, 'I'm so sorry, Eli.' Then, with one anguished motion .& .& . Ipulled. The delicate chain made a quiet snap and fell broken in myhand. Without opening my eyes, I held my precious treasure out to Mr.Feldman."
& & & & He snatched it up and thrust the chicken at me. Feeling a tear rundown the side of my cheek, I grabbed the bird and ran back to camp.
I found this to be an interesting book that gives us a glimpse intothe day-to-day life of the pioneers traveling by handcart. I think itwill be enjoyed by Latter-day Saint girls whom it is intended for,and is a good, entertaining story. Older girls may find the story andcharacters too simple. I'm not sure. I still enjoyed reading itmyself, and I am a grown-up now.
Linda Adams firstname.lastname@example.org NEW URL: http://www.members.xoom.com/adamszoo/ Little Ones Lost: LDS miscarriage http://home.sprintmail.com/~adamszoo/
© 1999 Linda Adams < email@example.com >