Angels of the Swamp (Walker's American History Series for Young People)

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9780802781291: Angels of the Swamp (Walker's American History Series for Young People)
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Taffy, a fifteen-year-old orphan, joins two boys who have been forced to leave their homes and the three of them try to survive the summer of 1932 on an island off the west coast of Florida

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Two runaways and an older teenager join forces to build new lives--in a sunny first novel set in Depression-era Florida. Jody, 12, is fleeing his drunken uncle; Taffy is escaping her overbearing social-worker. They meet in dismal Crane's Bog and pole a hundred miles up the coast to an abandoned island, where they find an old house, fresh water, and abundant sea life. The two are skilled at drawing sustenance from shore and ocean, and their nearly idyllic existence becomes even more so when they are joined by Jeff, who, unable to find work, rows out to his family's old estate to try his luck at fishing. Not only do the three fend for themselves, but they also begin to make a good living selling their catch. There is almost no conflict here, and frequent digressions and subplots involving minor characters slow the pace; but a strong sense of place--enhanced by lively accounts of fishing, shellfishing, and using the materials at hand for shelter and protection--will keep most readers engrossed. In the end, worried adults track down Taffy and Jody; impressed by their success and their determination to remain independent, they leave them in Jeff's care. Not a deep tale, but pleasantly optimistic and vividly realized. (Fiction. 11-14) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-12-- In 1932, three young people try to survive physically and emotionally in a rural area of Florida's west coast. Following the death of her grandfather, Taffy, 15, is fleeing from the prospect of a foster home. She joins forces with Jody, 12, running away from an alcoholic uncle. Together they escape a treacherous bog and, despite Jody's serious leg injury, travel 100 miles to deserted Pelican Island where they set up camp. There they encounter down-on-his-luck Jeff, 18, who needs work. The three combine their skills to earn a living and make a home; eventually, they come to terms with the world they have abandoned. Whittaker's descriptions of the lush, mysterious Florida wilderness and of the ocean's natural bounty are superb. Writing with a clear, honest voice, she captures a refreshing innocence in her believable young people. The adults, however, are not so well developed. The resolution is too pat, but it is difficult to ignore the feelings of hope and courage that radiate from this work. It is also difficult not to feel a kinship for the characters who inhabit it. --Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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