Clara and the Hoodoo Man

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9780525454038: Clara and the Hoodoo Man
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Despite her mother's warnings about the hoodoo man, Clara delights in his tales of cures hidden in plants, and when her sister, Bessie, takes sick, Clara braves the perils of the nighttime forest to find the hoodoo man and his secret medicines.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6?Clara, an African American girl, is angry that she is always expected to entertain her younger sister. She wrangles with Bessie until she finds herself caught in a dare that results in one of their mother's crocks (used to store homemade sausages) getting broken. In the Tennessee mountains at the turn of the century, such a loss could threaten the family's very survival. Clara vows to earn the $2.50 to replace the item, but it seems an impossible sum until she finds a large patch of wild ginseng. Anxious to please her mother, who always seems to find fault with her, Clara ignores a coming storm and her sister's safety to dig the valuable "sang." After being soaked and chilled by the storm, Bessie contracts a life-threatening fever, against which even the white doctor seems powerless. Clara thinks the hoodoo man can save the sick child, but her mother has fearfully forbidden her to even speak to him. Superbly schooled in time and place, Partridge introduces readers to the demanding beauty of life as it was lived by people who were handed little, yet survived and gave much. Readers learn the uses of willow bark, the setting habits of a recalcitrant hen, and are given glimpses of the legacy of slavery. Although the plot moves a bit slowly at times, Clara is a beautifully realized character.?Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

While digging herbs on Red Owl Mountain, Clara Raglan and her little sister Bessie strike up a conversation with Old Sugar, the hoodoo man. Their mother has warned them that Old Sugar puts hexes on people, but the girls timidly respond to the old man's friendship. Then Bessie is struck by mountain fever. Momma blames Clara. "You should never have talked with that two-shadow man," she cries, collapsing into sobs. And Clara, ashamed, has to take a big risk. Should she fear the hex or defy her mother and fetch the hoodoo man to save her sister's life? This exceptional first novel is as clear and sharp as a heady whiff of sage. It features luminescent writing full of sensuous images, heavy with persimmon and willow bark and hollyhocks; readers can hear the chickens scratching and feel the big pots steaming. It is subtle in characterization; Clara is aware of her mother's big and small moods, but from a young girl's perspective. It is also dramatically compelling, climaxing in Clara's fearful ride up the mountain in the pitch black. Partridge, an herbalist and acupuncturist, has based her novel on the story told her by the real-life Clara, an octogenarian African American woman raised in rural Tennessee. One hopes the author has more stories to share. Ages 8-11.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780140383485: Clara and the Hoodoo Man (Puffin Novel)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0140383484 ISBN 13:  9780140383485
Publisher: Puffin Books, 1998
Hardcover

9780606132787: Clara and the Hoodoo Man

Demco ..., 1998
Softcover

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Elizabeth Partridge
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Elizabeth Partridge
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