4 Stars out of 5: Beaver Creek Blues

Published March 28, 2017

As a newbie at writing novels, I was most humbled by this review by The Clarion Review on Beaver Creek Blues which is due out April 4. An excerpt of the review follows:

Mary Ann Rose Hart’s Beaver Creek Blues is a nostalgic coming-of-age story that is rich in period details, including big issues from segregation to polio.

Going on twelve years old, Willie is self-described “Jelly Belly” in the 1950s rural South. He loves baseball, and he grapples with family challenges and bullies in the year before he enters sixth grade. Hart vividly recreates his setting—a time when a Coca-Cola was considered a healthier pregame drink than a glass of milk.

Willie, the narrator, and his circle of friends are consumed with baseball and school. Each chapter relates a meaningful episode in their lives and ends with a journal entry by Willie reflecting on the deeper meaning of preceding events. These entries generally arrive at an insight that broadens Willie’s view of the world…

The big issues that Willie, his baseball team, and his family members face are handled with sensitivity and optimism. Willie and his friends channel their heroes Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson when their black friend Chris is initially excluded from their baseball team despite his abilities…

In his last journal entry, Willie reflects “I know now that life is going to be full of hits and strikeouts.” It’s an important epiphany, and one that will resonate with middle grade readers approaching adolescence.

Quiet, thoughtful historical fiction suited for middle grade readers, Beaver Creek Blues has the potential to spark important intergenerational discussions in homes and classrooms about the politics of the 1950s and beyond, and would make a great read-aloud for baby boomers to share with the young people in their lives.

Beaver Creek Blues by Mary Ann Rose Hart

Dog Ear Publishing, $12.95