Sunday, September 11, 2005

At the Back of the Woods, by Claudia Mills

When Emily moves to the neighborhood, she astounds the other girls (and Clarisse in particular) by her fearlessness. Emily fears nothing, least of all crazy old Mrs Spinelli, who everyone else is convinced is a witch. But when Emily encounters something that is afraid of, Clarisse realizes that there is a big difference between Emily's fearlessness and true bravery.

I've now read a good number of Claudia Mills's books, and this may well be the very best of the bunch. Although pitched at middle readers, this charming little book creates a wonderful little world of 10 year olds and their shifting loyalties and friendships, and revels in the type of emotional growth that children go through before adolescence. And it rather sharply criticises adults who don't trust children enough to tell them the truth. A beautiful book.

No comments: