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Friday, April 17, 2015

Work and More Work, written by Linda Little and illustrated by Oscar T. Perez. A Groundwood Book. $18.95 ages

 "Tom had never seen such
hustle and bustle! Up one
street and down the next -
people and horses and carts,
baskets and barrels and boxes,
dogs underfoot and birds in
cages, everyone hollering and
"Ho, boy!" a woman called out
to Tom. "Run this note up to
the parson."

Tom is not pleased with the drudgery of his daily life. Those days pass him by in a haze of work, and not much else. When he makes the announcement that he has bigger plans, his parents barely acknowledge his departure; they have their work to do. He hitches a ride on a passing hay wagon, and soon finds himself in town. A man in need of a helper gets his attention, and he spends his day working hard loading a barge. He is very happy, despite the hard work.

When the barge leaves in the morning, Tom is aboard. He is excited to see what happens in the city. He is astonished by the noise, the constant chaos, and all of the people needing his help. He runs errands, rolls barrels, and does a lot of carrying. He is very happy, despite the hard work.

Magnificent boats in the harbor encourage his wandering soul, and he decides that he will go to sea on one of them. As a seaman he faces a powerful storm, great fear and constant work as they stop at one port after another to load wares. They make stops in China, India and Ceylon. He is very happy, despite the hard work.

Finally, it is time for Tom to go home:

"When the ship landed, he made his way back through the city, up along the river to the town (that now seemed very tiny and quiet after all his adventures) and out along the winding road to the little cottage."

Rich language and vibrant settings take readers back in time to places they will not necessarily be familiar with, and give a sense of being right there with Tom as he leaves home looking for, and finding, a greater world. If you have an interest in knowing more about the work of the day, the places Tom visits and the riches he encounters, the author has provided a double page filled with such information.           

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