Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney

Sassafras Springs is just a boring farming town, assumes plucky young Eben McAllister. Until one day, when his pa challenges him to find the Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs — in seven days. If he succeeds, Eben’s pa will let him take the trip to Colorado that he has been dreaming of. Aunt Pretty thinks it is a bad idea at first, that Eben should stay home and mind the farm with his pa, but then she agrees because she knows how restless he is. Eben is excited to have found six wonders already — which, by the way, include a life-saving apple ead doll and a real ship in a bottle — when he finds out that a sickness is going through the Colorado town of his destination, and the trip is off. He is very disappointed until Aunt Pretty makes arrangements for him to visit St. Louis instead. Eben is back on track pursuing his goal . . . one more wonder, and he is off to the train station.

Overall, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs is a delightful, energetic story with likable characters. The book has a well-thought-out plot. I usually like science fiction and fantasy books, so I was not sure if I would enjoy this, but The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs really surprised me. I enjoyed reading it very much. It was heart-warming in some places, and sad in others, and it was interesting to see how Eben comes to realize that even a small town like Sassafras Springs can have wonders of its own. I would recommend this book to anyone, and readers who enjoyed Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder will love this.