Monday, September 7, 2015

Return To Hackberry Street (1967)

Return To Hackberry Street
Christine Govan, il. Peggy Bacon
1967, The World Publishing Company

The last week of August was hot and dry. The leaves fell from the trees and lay in brittle, dull-green drifts along the sidewalks and the roads…. “What a time to start school!” cried Jessie, crossing the room and pulling up the shade. She threw herself down on the bed and Katie lay back in the big split-bottomed rocker near the window. It was too hot to move, so they just talked again about the new girl.

Jessie Bolton and Katie Warren are grousing about startin  Across town, Laura Hewitt is miserably protesting her family’s move from cosmopolitan Nashville to small town Madison for the umpteenth time. Her mother suggests she invite her city friend to visit, and Laura isn’t comforted.
g school the next day, about the new bank manager’s daughter, and how they just know she’s going to be a snob like the last, their old enemy Gladys Joyce.

“What would they do in this dead, ugly, dried-up little one-horse town? Oh, Mamma!”

The girls inevitably clash.  Since there are only 5 girls in the entire class, Laura quickly becomes a recluse.  Jessie’s little brother Frank, meanwhile, loses his happy if mostly useless hound mix Spot after unwisely (and untruthfully) bragging to some shifty locals about the dog’s hunting prowess.  Laura’s role in bringing Spot home helps reconcile the girls, and brings about a happy resolution.

Atmospheric and nicely interested in minor action, like Jessie’s little sister playing paper dolls in the bathtub.

On the other hand
Kirkus, the long-lived book review, has a tendency to go for the throat. Their brief review of this book is brutal: 

Return is also to some once upon a time, maybe the turn of the century, but it's an indigent little story with old fashioned fixin's (paper dolls, the Sears Roebuck catalog, sprigged muslin). Laura Hewitt moves from Nashville to a small town and faces the coalition of Jessie Bolton and Katie Warren. This deals then with the resolution of city girl-country girl, old girl-new girl resentments, with a little action in the disappearance of a favorite coon dog, Spot....""Lawzee""--lethargy on the back porch.