A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dust Girl is a clever, thoughtful, intricate fantasy that mixes U.S. history and Celtic, African-American, and Native American folklore and musical traditions. The main characters, Callie and Jack, are in constant jeopardy, and there's violence: A vicious lawman hands out beatings to hobos, shoots at Callie and Jack in a chase scene, and kills one of their friends. There's also some bloodshed and supernatural ickiness involving a re-animated corpse. While there's no profanity, characters use ethnic slurs such as "Mick" or "Jew boy." African-American characters are referred to as Negroes, which is historically accurate.
What's the story?
In Dust Bowl-era Kansas, Callie LeRoux, already feeling abandoned by her long-disappeared father, is devastated after her mother goes missing in a sand storm. A mysterious stranger drops clues about Callie's destiny and tells her that she must search for her parents in \"the golden hills of the west\" (California). Accompanied by a hobo boy named Jack, Callie sets off to learn to harness powers bequeathed to her by her fairy blood. She's half-mortal and half-fairy, and her mortal side is half-African-American.
Is it any good?
DUST GIRL is more than a cut above the usual historical fantasy fiction. In her first novel for teens, award-winning science-fiction and fantasy author Sarah Zettel has constructed a Depression-era tale of music, magic, history, and folklore that's exciting, thoughtful, and well researched.
The contrast between Dust Bowl Kansas and the wondrous fairy lands generates the tension that propels the narrative. Readers will eagerly await the next volume in "The American Fairy Trilogy."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Great Depression and how it affected everyday life in the United States.
Why do fairy tales and folk stories often feature characters who are outwitted because of their own greed?
How was everyday life different for African-Americans during the Great Depression? What things were white people allowed to do that were forbidden to African-Americans or immigrants?
- Author: Sarah Zettel
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses and Fairies, Adventures, Arts and Dance, Fairy Tales, History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: June 26, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 349
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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