Friday, April 27, 2012

NO SMALL VICTORY by Connie Brummel Crook

Crook, Connie Brummel. No Small Victory. Ontario. CA: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-5545-5169-9. $12.95

The theme of “moving” comes up frequently in works of children’s literature, and rightly so—for many kids, moving translates to losing everything they know and love, starting over with seemingly nothing.

In No Small Victory, Bonnie’s family has been hit hard by the Great Depression, and they are forced to move quickly, without taking time to slowly say their goodbyes to the only home Bonnie has ever known. She’s the new kid in her one-room schoolhouse, unfamiliar with the strict male teacher, and faces many of the same challenges as adolescents today, but in a historical setting that distances the events from immediate reality while still modeling lessons and behavior.

The story also addresses issues of money and debt, particularly that of a family who struggles valiantly to pay down their bills. In today’s economy, these are problems with which many families struggle. Bonnie serves as a character to identify with for someone in a similar situation.

Despite being a bit of an underdog, Bonnie uses her smarts to become a heroine. It is Bonnie who creates the rhyme that saves her peers from bullies when they acquire lice, and it is Bonnie who wins the spelling bee to defeat the big older bully from the neighboring town!

A story of family, of friendship, and of wholesome triumph, No Small Victory is a book I recommend without reservations. With this story, Crook has won no small victory!

Marisa Behan

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