Editorial Review

Kirkus Reviews - Hardscrabble

Cover: Hardscrabble

A close-knit family endures the rough life of farming in Colorado in the early 20th century. Hail, snow, locusts, sickness, death—the list of setbacks encountered by the Martin family as they try to earn their homestead by farming the dry ground of Colorado is a long one. But they can depend on one another for love and support, and they rely on their friendly neighbors for everything from food when times are especially tight to a helping hand in a snowy emergency. And it’s not all hardship. There are fun parties, plans for college, and holiday celebrations. Told from the point of view of 12-year-old Belle, who is pleased to discover that their nearest neighbor is a woman on her own, proving that women can be independent homesteaders, the details of rural American life are rendered with care and precision in Dallas’ third novel for children. The story occasionally offers events that feel too convenient and even saccharine, as when neighbor Hans Kruger saves the children from a snowstorm and thus proves himself to be a kind and generous soul, far from the dangerous German immigrant most thought him to be. A white cast of characters populates this book set in the 1910s, with obvious parallels to the Little House series. A traditional addition to the genre of frontier living. (Historical fiction. 9-11)

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