This novel came to me via my #bookexpedition Twitter group. It was an exciting one to receive because I had no previous knowledge of the book.
What It Is About: Elsie Mae is heading to the "swamp". She has been going for the past few summers. Her dear grandparents live in Okefenokee Swamp and life is quite unusual here. Just before her arrival Elsie May wrote a letter to President Roosevelt asking him to save the swamp from a company that wants to "drive" right through the swamp. She is looking to become a hero. Once she gets to her grandparents, they present her with a new dog that she names Huck. Life is grand for her until a young relative named Henry shows up to also spend the summer. Elsie isn't sure how she feels about this because Henry couldn't be more different from her. When the neighboring hogs begin to be "stolen", Elsie and Henry team up to discover who is behind these thefts. They want to become hometown heroes and solve the mystery. They must race against time and Elsie's "mean" uncle who also wants to take credit for these crimes.
What I Thought Of It: I'm not normally a reader of historical fiction, but I quite enjoyed this story. The storyline flowed so naturally from beginning to middle to end. It was fun to read about life in the south and out at the "swamp". The cast of characters were amazing and I enjoyed that there were plenty of protagonists and antagonists. This combination made the story fun, interesting, and full of suspense. More than this, I thought the relationships that Elsie Mae had with her family and friends were delightful, meaningful, and full of life. I'm always looking for more historical fiction to use with my students and this is definitely a book that will be added to my classroom library.
Who Should Read It: This would for the perfect novel to use during a historical fiction unit with fourth, fifth, and/or sixth graders. Of course it could be used as a read aloud during any part of the year. It would make for a strong read aloud because of the mystery and suspense. Female readers in grades five and six would be a great audience for the story because of the Elsie Mae and her amazing adventure in the swamp lands. Happy Reading!
Rating: 4 STARS out of 5 Stars