Recently, while at a wedding reception, I got to chatting with a fellow book lover and in the course of the conversation I mentioned that I was a “transplant” to this area. I’m originally from a small town in the thumb called North Branch (Lapeer County). Imagine my surprise when she said not only that she knew where that was (most people think they know, but they really know where West Branch is, which amusingly, is north of North Branch), but also that she had read a book set in North Branch? WHAT? How had I grown up there and never heard of such a book. Well, thanks to modern technology and smart phones, she was able to pull up the author and title of the book straight-away. So, I had to check this title out!
Probably the reason I’d never heard of it growing up, is that it is copyright 1988 — I graduated from high school in 1988, so I probably wasn’t reading too many juvenile fiction titles at that time. (Yes, I realize that just gave away my age.)
This title is part of the “Grandma’s Attic Novels” series and is supposed to be based on true stories the author’s grandmother told her about growing up and living in a small town. This title is the 8th book in the series.
It is exactly what it claims to be … a nice story about life in small town in the late 1800s/early 1900s. As I read this book, I do wonder though if it is based on my hometown of North Branch, MI. Here are a couple of reasons why I’m just not sure:
1. The story refers to the river many times … the Chippewa River. The town of North Branch is near a river … the Flint River. In fact, it is named North Branch, because it is near the north branch of the Flint River.
2. At one point they talk about when the school house was built and say it was built in 1792. North Branch wasn’t settled until 1854.
3. They talk about a nearby town Edanville. I tried Googling Edanville and only came up with an “Edenville” which is in Midland County.
None of those things really mean anything and don’t necessarily prove the stories aren’t about my North Branch, but they do make me wonder!
This would be great for kids who enjoy things like the Little House on the Prairie series and the American Girls series.
The Chippewa River District Library System does not have any copies of this title. I obtained it via MeLCat — from the North Branch Township Library where I spent many hours as a child. 🙂