A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The main character and her family are warm and caring people, but few other adults behave well towards children.
Violence & Scariness
A drunken man chokes a child and attempts to kidnap her.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jane's mother has had many boyfriends, and children with several of them.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke and drink, some to drunkenness. One offers gin to a child, who refuses.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that it's implied that Jane's mom has had children with several different men, and that Jane is choked and dragged away by a drunken, abusive man.
Is It Any Good?
There's an idea in publishing that anything about children must be for children; sometimes this leads to odd ducks like this appealing novel, which could be described as lyrically nostalgic. Not the prime qualifications for a children's book, but traits that will make it very enticing to the few adults who happen across it in the children's section. The publisher rates it for ages 8-12. While there's nothing wildly inappropriate for that age (though there is certainly plenty of behavior and motivation that children in that range simply won't understand), there are long swaths of gorgeous prose that don't leave them much to chew on.
Though older readers may wonder why all the adults in this small town are so crabby and self-centered, they may be swept away by the language, eccentric characters, and the simple, even barren, but oddly appealing life led by Jane and her family. In our harried, media-drenched, overstimulating world it can be a great pleasure to read about people gently whiling away their unhurried lives with berry-picking and jam-making; characters to whom a little local fair or visiting a palm-reader are the adventures of a lifetime. This is a delightful book, if not really for kids.
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Our Editors Recommend
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