Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Journey from Peppermint Street is a warm, inspiring tale of a young boy’s journey toward wholeness. From the very first pages, the reader notes at once Siebren’s restiveness. He feels like he is on a leash as his busy, pregnant mother makes him take care of his brother Knillis, hour after hour. He chafes, evidenced by his disobedience to his mother when he takes Knillis for a walk to the town’s pond. Siebren is hungry for more freedom, more independence, more experience. He has never been beyond the borders of Weirom, their small village by the sea; his spirit craves discovery.

Author Meindert De Jong sets the situation up well. Siebren is in need of a change of scenery, and Grandpa obliges. He gets word that his older sister Anna is sick and may not live long, and he sets out to see his sister one more time. Grandpa agrees to take Siebren along; he will stay with Hinka, his great-aunt, in an abandoned monastery on the edge of the marsh. Siebren is ecstatic and, since he is the narrator, the reader experiences intimately the boy’s deeply felt emotions—giddy anticipation at the outset, soon giving way to fear and anxiety. At heart, this is the story of a journey through childhood fears to a final destination of quiet, happy confidence.

The journey begins slowly. Walking gives one a lot of time to think, especially when not much happens along the way. In the first village through which they pass, Grandpa cleverly wards off an...

(The entire section is 539 words.)