Saving Strawberry Farm, by Deborah Hopkinson

  • Saving Strawberry Farm, by Deborah Hopkinson

April 26, 2005
Greenwillow Books
Ages 4-8

One penny.

In the hot, mean summer of 1933, a penny is enough to buy caramels or red hots or peppermint sticks or licorice strings. Is it enough to buy Miss Elsie's Strawberry Farm?

There's only one way to find out. Davey takes a deep breath and shouts, "One penny for Strawberry Farm!"

Set during the Great Depression, and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Rachel Isadora, Saving Strawberry Farm brings Davey's Midwestern town to life as friends and neighbors plan to save the farm the only way they can -- with a secret penny auction!

Featured Lesson Plan

Below is a link to an economics lesson developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis:



From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-This beautifully illustrated picture book is set in a Midwestern town in 1933. Although times are hard, Mom sends young Davey to Mr. Russell's store to buy ice to make lemonade for a special Fourth of July treat. While there, he helps Miss Elsie carry a bag to her truck and learns that the kind woman is going to lose her farm to the bank. When Mr. Russell explains the idea of a penny auction, Davey keeps his coin instead of spending it on candy. On the way home, he shows it to the townspeople and encourages them to attend the auction. Later that day, he starts the bidding by yelling, One penny for Strawberry Farm! Other folks chime in, raising the amount by nickels and dimes instead of dollars, until Miss Elsie makes the final bid and is able to buy back her property. Isadora uses colored pencils to create the soft-edged, full-page illustrations. Vivid hues depict the red-hot sun and the hazy heat of July, as well as the smiling faces of Miss Elsie's helpful neighbors. Hopkinson's straightforward text is framed in orange and pale yellow. A brief author's note provides factual background about the Great Depression, the drought that devastated the land, and the role of the general store, making this story an excellent introduction to this time period.-Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
PreS-Gr. 2. Like everyone in the small midwestern town, Davy's family is struggling to survive the "mean," hot summer of 1933. Davy is delighted when his neighbor Miss Elsie tips him a penny for carrying her groceries, until he learns that she is to lose her strawberry farm at a bank auction. When another neighbor proposes that the town stage a "penny auction," Davy spreads the word, and, later, it's his penny that starts the bidding low enough to enable Miss Elsie to buy back her own farm. Hopkinson's graceful text, filled with colloquial dialogue, doesn't mention the Great Depression until an appended author's note. But the details in her text and in Isadora's bright colored-pencil artwork bring a sharp focus to the day-to-day hardships, as well as simple pleasures such as making homemade lemonade. Most powerful are the close-up scenes of resourceful Davy and his triumphant crowd. Pair this excellent read-aloud with William Miller's Rent Party Jazz (2001) for another view of a community surviving the Depression with creativity and spirit. Gillian Engberg Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved