In this nostalgic picture book, author Jennifer Brogle recalls her childhood in rural Kentucky, taking readers back to a simpler time.
In the summer of 1974, the Naylor sisters made the most of every day. Though their family had little money, the girls found adventures in what was at hand. One day, they chiseled brick powder from an old red chimney to make blush; on another, they made necklaces out of clover. Little things meant a lot. When they accompanied their mom to the Laundromat, they delighted in the coins she gave them to buy grape soda. When it was time for church camp, they couldn’t wait to craft replica Bibles from bar soap.
Both parents worked in factories, so the girls spent the days with their grandmother or neighbors Tony and Ett. Once, they joined Tony and Ett on a drive to Dripping Springs to sip water trickling down a rock face: “a handful of nature’s sweet wonder.”
They also had scary times, as when Sherry, who couldn’t swim, fell into a fishing hole or when their cousin found a pistol on their grandmother’s dresser and thought it was a toy.
In some ways, the story would be better as a chapter book. The text is lengthy, and several photographs of rural scenes behind the text are simply repeated throughout; they appear along with images of a dock, unnamed girls and other uncaptioned images. Also, more dialogue would showcase the girls’ Southern charm, further engaging readers.
But Brogle’s writing is as endearing as the girls’ adventures (though not free of minor grammatical errors). She describes watching Scooby-Doo! early one Saturday: “I loved those cuddling times with my little sister in dad’s big chair especially since we had a protective blanket surrounding us.” Their sweet regard for each other comes through, as does their innocence. The author’s recollections leave readers feeling as if they had tagged along on the girls’ many adventures.
Also available as an ebook.