Jan Andrews. Illustrated by Karen Reczuch.
Volume 19 Number 2
The Auction tells how a boy and his grandfather come to grips with the sale of the family farm. It becomes clear later on in the story that this auction is the result of Grandmother's recent death. Many memories that were shared on the farm are retold, such as when Todd's mother was born, when they first got electricity, and when Grandmother used to make a variety of scarecrows to put out in the fields to scare away the birds. Todd had hoped to be a farmer like his grandfather and continue the traditions that were taught to him as a boy. To see his grandfather selling off the animals and equipment is almost more than Todd can take.
In order to retain the warm feelings and many memories that exist around the farm for these last hours, Todd and his grandfather set out making scarecrows just as Grandmother used to. They make a lady by the bailer, some children, a man in a chair, a woman at the sewing machine and many more. When they have used up all their material they retire into their home, where they are met with just a mattress to sleep on. There they curl up into bed together thinking about tomorrow's auction.
The illustrations by Karen Reczuch excellently depict the rural farm life and setting. They conjure up images of the vast and open Canadian prairies, where flatness and patchwork landscape are prevalent. It also gives an indication of what farm life was like thirty to forty years ago. This book could certainly be integrated into a social studies unit on farming and farm life. Jan Andrews has written several stories including the award-winning Very Last First Time ¹, which was an ALA Notable Book.
Kay Kerman, Chelsea Elementary School, Chelsea, PQ.
¹ Reviewed vol. XIV/3 May 1986, p. 134.
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