________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number VIII . . . . August 4, 1995

Mine for Keeps

Jean Little
New York: Viking Penguin, 1995. 213 pp.
Cloth, $17.99.
ISBN 0-670-85967-2.

Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 -11.
Review by Joan Payzant.


With a jerk, Sal rolled away from her little sister to face the wall, her braces clanking together. A giant sob ached in her throat. As her first tears wet the pillow under her cheek, she took back the wish she had been making so faithfully for such a long time, the wish `come true' just last night. In spite of the feeling she had had when Mother hugged her in the car, . . . in spite of all the years of waiting and wanting to go home to stay, Sally wanted to go back, back to where she was known and safe and never left alone for a minute. She wanted to go back to school!

"Mine for Keeps" is author Jean Little's first novel, newly republished, twenty-three years after it won the Little Brown Children's Book Award in 1962. It is a sensitive story about ten-year-old Sally Copeland, who suffers from cerebral palsy. As the story opens, Sally is just returning to her family home after living for several years in a special school.

Sally's relationships with her siblings, parents, classmates, and teacher as she struggles to adapt to her new situation are well-described. Her little dog, Susie, unwittingly provides motivation for Sally to stretch her physical abilities to their limits. Even more importantly, the puppy helps solve a difficult situation to cement new friendships for Sally, and to break down the angry attitude of young immigrant Piet, who is having an even harder time than Sally to adjust to his new home.

This thoughtfully written story will open readers' eyes to the problems facing children who are either physically handicapped or who have been suddenly thrust into unfamiliar surroundings.

Highly recommended.

Note: photograph of Jean Little and cover illustration detail are both from the 1988 republication of the original 1962 edition of Mine for Keeps.

Joan Payzant, is a retired teacher/librarian in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364