Title: Elsie Mae Has Something to Say
Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Genre:7-11 age fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This is an adorable, 7-11 kids read. It's got dogs, bandits, a swamp, boats, simple politics and a loving Grandma and Grandpa in it. Very perfect for little girls or boys. I would recommend it as a read to them story, in case they have questions, but it's mostly fun with a good morale at the end.
It is however, due to the setting at the Okefenokee Swamp and the 'swamp people' lifestyle, filled with a fair bit of religion. Interestingly however the lead gal isn't convinced by God at first; but without a doubt she is quite convinced of God in the end. It's not a bad thing; just something to be aware of if that sort of thing bugs you.
I think Nancy J. Cavanaugh really captured the spirit and joy of our lead gal, Elsie Mae. As the youngest of seven it's very obvious that Elsie Mae adores her summers (alone) with Grandma and Grandpa because she is the star. I think many youngest siblings could find a real connection with Elsie Mae and her want to be a hero to the swamp residents.
Alternatively the little boy we meet is a quieter, preachers kid who is clearly troubled by many things. I felt for Henry because he clearly felt unwanted through most of the book. Certainly an emotion I remember as a child and I'm sure most kids have felt this way at some point.
There are some tougher topics in Elsie Mae Has Something to Say; from abandonment, prison, adults who don't measure up and some dangerous choices the kids make; I feel there is a lot of content here that would engage kids to ask their parents questions. If you read to your little one you might want to read this through first to be prepared for some of those questions. In particular I didn't like how the kids doing something dangerous resulted in them being rewarded just because it turned out okay. What if it hadn't? This is the one theme I had trouble with and why I can't quite give it 5 stars.
Overall this adorable little (partially true) story about saving the Okefenokee swamp is worth the quick read if you're intrigued as an adult or teen. And certainly in my top 5 for age 7-11 good books picks for 2017.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.