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Book Detail

Blue Willow

Blue Willow Author Doris Gates
Publisher Puffin Books
ISBN 0140309241
Publication Year 1976
Honors Newbery Honor
Reading Level 6.5
Main Character Age 10
Main Character is Human
Summary (Publisher"s Summary)
To Janey Larkin, the blue willow plate was the most beautiful thing in her life, a symbol of the home she could only dimly remember. Now that her father was an itinerant worker, Janey didn?t have a home she could call her own or any real friends, as her family had to keep moving, following the crops from farm to farm. Someday, Janey promised the willow plate, with its picture of a stream and a bridge and a real house beyond, her family would once again be able to set down roots in a community.

Subject Matter Summaries

Summary Details For Positive Elements:

POSITIVE PERSONAL ACTIONS AND/OR TRAITS p. 29, 45, 59, 107, 156, 162, 172 Throughout the book Lupe acts as a true friend to Janey. Lupe decided after she first met Janey that she liked her despite the fact that she acted talked differently than others. p. 127-130, 139-140 Two different times in the book Janey offered her most prized possession as payment when her parents did not have money. p. 150-155 Mr. Anderson gave the Larkin's a new start in life when he learned that his foreman had mistreated them.

Summary Details For Mature Subject Matter:

CONFLICT p. 49 Janey learned that unlike her father, Lupe's father had steady work. She felt that this difference made the Rameros a content family. p. 78-83 Janey became very upset when Bounce told Mr. Anderson that she was a thief. Mr. Anderson helped resolve their conflict. Janey decided she "liked Mr. Anderson but disliked Bounce". RELIGION p. 25 Lupe thought Janey's reverence for the willow plate was like the expression she had seen on people's faces in church. p. 34-35 Janey's father expected her to read two pages of Scripture everyday. p. 36 Janey knew that "God promised that there would always be a harvest, so she knew her Dad would always have work." p. 43 Janey recalled a Bible verse and was thankful for its promises. p. 54 The abundance of produce at the fair made Janey think of the Old Testament spies who first saw Canaan. p. 69 Janey's mom quoted a part of a Bible verse to describe the river where they had a picnic. p. 77 Janey used an Old Testament phrase when she told Bounce she was "spying out the land." p. 103 Janey's mom thought things in life were based on doing your best and chance. p. 155 Janey's mom said they should "give thanks to the Power which is greater than Janey, greater than all of us." Janey found the statement confusing and "wondered if she meant God or the willow plate". "Just to be safe, she offered up a silent prayer to both." CRISIS p. 19, 23, 33, 65, 125, 145 The Larkins moved often so Mr. Larkin could find work in the fields. Janey was always concerned with when they would have to move again. p. 23 The "willow plate was the only thing of beauty the Larkins owned". p. 37-38 Janey's bed was their car's back seat cushion. p. 43 Janey's father told her they would have to find a permanent home soon because of her mother's health. p. 45 Janey and her mom wanted to make sure that children would be admitted to the fair for free. p. 65 Janey was concerned when she heard her dad was laid off work for a couple of days. p. 103 Janey felt sometimes that her mother "seemed far off like God". p. 126-141 Janey's mom developed pneumonia. She refused to seek medical help because they could not afford to pay. Janey was afraid her mother might die. p. 145 Janey's father announced they would have to move again so he could find work.

Summary Details For Profanity/Language:

DEGRADING COMMENTS Stupid p. 45 Janey thought Lupe could be "so stupid". DEROGATORY TERMS "Cotton trash" p. 79 Bounce called Janey "cotton trash".

Summary Details For Sexual Content:

ROMANCE p. 26-27 Janey shared the love story that was portrayed on the Blue Willow plate with Lupe.

Summary Details For Violence/Illegal Activity:

MISDEMEANOR p. 140 Bounce planned to use the Anderson's willow plate as a trade for the rent receipts. Bounce knew that if his boss discovered that he had collected rent money on a worthless shack he would be in "serious trouble". FRIGHTENING SCENES p. 80 The look Bounce gave Janey made her afraid to say anything more to Mr. Anderson. p. 121 Janey stood between Bounce and the ducks to prevent him from shooting. p. 138 Janey was afraid that Bounce and her father would fight. Her mother had warned that Bounce could have her father arrested.

Summary Details For Tobacco/Alcohol/Drugs:


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Summary Details For Disrespectful/Anti-Social Elements:

LYING AND/OR CHEATING p. 60 Lupe told a lie in hopes that Janey would use her free ride on the merry-go-round. p. 64 Bounce lied when he said he was collecting rent money for his boss. VERBAL BULLYING AND/OR TEASING p. 78 Bounce told Janey to "Git!" p. 122 Bounce, in a "threatening voice," told Janey to "keep out of his way". p. 136-140 Bounce did not have sympathy for the Larkin's circumstances. He said he did not want to hear their "whinin'" and they had "to pay up or get out". EXPRESSION OF BAD ATTITUDES, ANGER AND/OR MOODINESS p. 20 Lupe bragged to Janey that she had a brother and a sister. p. 21-29 Janey showed Lupe her greatest possession. She hoped that Lupe would see it and "never again boast of brothers and sisters". p. 33, 44 Janey considered her mother to be fussy. She liked spending time at the Romero's because they seemed very carefree. p. 60 Janey acted very prideful when Lupe offered her a chance to ride on the merry-go-round for free. Janey said she "did not need to be beholden to anyone." p. 85-86 Janey had a bad attitude about going to the "camp school". She wanted to attend the school in town.