When Leroy Redfield starts taking her momma dancing, Jolene won't call him anything but Mister. Without a name, he can't really be a whole person to her. The last thing she wants is somebody coming along trying to fill the space her daddy left when he died. But then Jolene learns that big, loud Mister wants to marry Momma, and when she gets the chance to hurt him, she acts. What will Momma do when she finds out? And will she marry Mister anyway? Kimberly Willis Holt has written a poignant, humorous story about change and acceptance, and a little girl who ultimately gives name to what she wants most.
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Kimberley Willis Holt is the author of My Louisiana Sky and the winner of the 1999 National Book Award for When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. She lives in Amarillo, Texas.
Leonard Jenkins lives in New York City.
Holt (My Louisiana Sky) returns to Louisiana for this touching slice of life in a 1940 mill town. Young Jolene Jasmine Johnson can't change certain things about her world, like having to sit in the rear balcony at the movie theater, and acting polite to "Miz" Logan, the mill owner's wife for whom Jolene's mother sews dresses. But the outspoken heroine believes that she can keep things happy at home. That is, until logger Leroy Redfield, a man "dark as a starless night, tall and thick as a long-leaf pine tree," comes courting her widowed mother. Holt handily employs Jolene's first-person narration to focus more on the music of Louis Armstrong, community dances and family life than on societal clashes; the warmth and love in the Johnson household envelops the novel. The author balances Jolene's blatant displays of resentment toward her mother's beau (at one point, she cuts up the expensive fabric he has bought for Jolene's mother) with patience and tolerance from Leroy ("plain Mister" as Jolene calls him), and he eventually secures his future stepdaughter's trust. Jolene's acceptance of her mother's upcoming marriage comes gradually and convincingly, and her willingness to face the uncertainties of her future may well give courage to readers confronting sea changes of their own. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scholastic, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Leonard Jenkns (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0439063922