Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Middl'un by Elizabeth Burleson

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This is a book we picked up at a library book sale for 10 cents. It is the fictional story, narrated by a girl named Hannah, of living in Texas during the 1800s. I thought these bits were interesting.

Our land was split down the middle by Johnson Creek, named for Albert Sidney Johnston who'd surveyed and mapped out a rough military road along the creek before the Civil War. The t had been dropped from the spelling of the name a long time ago. In our part of the country, we didn't use any unnecessary letters in our talk. G's pronounced at the end of a word meant somebody was either a Yankee or puttin' on.

I'd learned more history and geography from Pa while we drifted cattle than I had from school books. When he wasn't in a talking mood, I'd got in the habit of thinking his stories through again in my head. That way I hardly ever forgot anything.

It had been our good fortune to board Miss Holmes the year before, and she'd made the buggy ride to school an adventure every day. From a book she always carried we'd learned to recognize dozens of kinds of birds. In the spring we'd made a grass collection and found more than thirty kinds growing on our own place. Before the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, we'd gathered rocks and built a miniature fort and chapel, using an old picture Miss Holmes had found as our guide. On the sixth of March we refought the battle.

We drew straws to see who would be the Texans and who'd be the Mexican soldiers. I was lucky enough to get a Texas straw and then we drew for each part. When Lissa got the name of Colonel William Barret Travis she sat down and copied his famous letter address "To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world" and tacked it on the wall. I read it every day for a week. "Fellow citizens and compatriots," it began. That included me! "I shall never surrender or retreat..." Every time I read the letter my fighting blood jumped from simmer to boil. I was old Davey Crockett from Tennessee. That meant I'd fall dead on a pile of the enemy in the very front of the Alamo.

The first part I transcribed struck me as amusing since we still talk thataway around here. I also like the way she describes the learning that took place all throughout her day.

I would say this is a book girls (and boys, too, although it is written from the perspective of a girl) ages 8-12 would enjoy.


The Estrogen Files said...

Shoot, my library doesn't have it and neither does Paperbackswap.com. Gonna see if I can find it elsewhere. Thanks!

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