***** Fall in Love with America Review by Rox Burkey
Author Bette A. Stevens brings small-town America to life with delightful home-spun words and visuals. Readers can see, feel, hear, and taste every morsel of this prequel. I find it amazing that relating a poor boy’s adventure is rich with activity, imagination, and learning.
This historical fiction is a delightful rendition of life and times in the 1950s. Kids rode their bicycles, played outdoors, had few modern conveniences, and yet they survived and thrived.
I like the brotherly interaction between Shawn and Willie immediately. Their closeness shows in all their activities. You can easily imagine the other fun these two boys enjoy.
“Hey, Willie,” I finally asked, “did ya bring the slingshot?”
“Sure did, Shawn. Whatcha wanna shoot today?”
Willie’s brown eyes looked as big as Mum’s pan-fried donuts, and his smile pretty nearly filled his round face as he jumped up from his leafy bed and hovered over me like a bear.
I helped Willie make that slingshot out of rubber bands I’d sliced from one of the old inner tubes piled out by Dad’s rusty Ford Roadster. That Ford had headlights on top of the fenders and the “old jalopy,” as Mum called it, was just rottin’ away out back of the two-holer. We broke a crotched limb out of the choke cherry bush to use for the handle. I tied the rubber band and the handle together with string from one of the flowered chicken feed sacks that Mum used to make her house dresses. That string was real strong and I was good at tying knots. Willie was proud as a peacock when it came to showing off that slingshot.
I recommend this story to those who like historical fiction based on small rural communities. The story is a fun short read that you’ll likely want your children to read when they complain the internet is down. I love this author and her way with words. Check out all her stories.
About the Author
Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author is currently (2019) working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection (2019).
Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017). Stevens is currently working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection/JUNE 2019).
Follow Bette on her website. You’ll enjoy all her publications.