By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996
Happy Patriot’s Day!
Today was the first day of April Vacation Week. The kids were home, the sun was out, and very little writing was done. On the upside, a good deal of gardening was accomplished and everyone is tired in that give-me-some-dinner-and-put-me-to-bed sort of way. Don’t you just love spring?
Vacation Week days in this house often begin with a book, and today was no exception. The kids and I finished SHILOH SEASON, the sequel to Naylor’s Newbery award-winning novel SHILOH. As with the first book, this one got us talking about some truly important stuff … right and wrong, big lies and little lies, people who are mean, and the sometimes difficult things that make them mean. These are big topics for little kids, and I loved how Naylor hid them in this enjoyable–and sometimes intense–story. We talked for a good while after the book was done, and although we didn’t agree on everything (my sons thought it was okay for Marty Preston, the eleven-year-old protagonist, to keep things from his parents and my daughter thinks it would be a good idea for us to get a dog), it was good to sit and hear each other for a while.
My favorite exchange in the book was one between Marty and Doc Murphy, the town doctor. Marty confesses to Doc that he has done something he knows is wrong. The problem is that Marty believes it was the right thing to do. Doc tells him, “If folks know what’s right and wrong for themselves, I’ve no quarrel with that. And we’ve all got to obey the law. But beyond that, what’s right in one situation may be wrong in another. YOU have to decide. That’s the hard part.”
SAVING SHILOH is the third and final book in the Shiloh trilogy; we’ll start it in the morning. For now my little monkeys need some sleep…