The strong, lively, and resourceful character of Beth Lambert provides energy and spirit to this story of life in rural Arkansas during the 1950’s. Her drive and spunk ring true for young readers, just as noble qualities are also manifested in her rival, Philip Hall. Both characters win readers’ affection as they experience adventures, which include stopping a turkey theft, operating a vegetable stand, getting lost on a mountain, running a foot race, raising calves, and competing with each other.
The eleven-year-old within a peer group is shown with the two clubs, the Pretty Pennies and the Tiger Hunters. Both groups are populated with likeable young friends who support one another, fuel the controversies with good humor, and show acceptance of one another. That these characters are part of a group while at the same time maintaining individuality and independence shows a healthy balance for readers to emulate. The author conveys the importance of intellectual prowess, physical stamina, and common sense for an interesting and active life; these are the same components that are necessary for solving problems. No great difficulties are encountered by the protagonists, and their many minor triumphs allow readers to experience the warm glow of success and achievement.
Greene’s description of small-town life evokes the smells and sounds of the countryside. Life in the community and its inhabitants, who depict human nature with all of its foibles, are shown. Greene presents the kindly Doc Brenner, who makes house calls, as well as the merchant Cyrus J. Putterman, whose...
(The entire section is 652 words.)