Young, Ronder Thomas. Moving Mama to Town. Orchard, 1997. ISBN 0-531-33025-7. $18.99. 217 pp. A 7-10 FI Reviewed by Jan Staheli Freddy James Johnson, thirteen, is the man of the family. His daddy, Big Kenny, had put his big hand on Freddy's shoulder and said “A real man doesn't stick around in the middle of a bad situation. A real man makes changes. Controls his own destiny.” Then he traded in all the corn for a truck and left--probably for good. Freddy figures he could leave, too, but he worries his Mama might drown in the creek. And who would people blame? The last one to leave--Freddy James. So he figures he'll stick around long enough to move Mama and Kenneth Lee to town, get a job, and get them settled. Then he'll see. Freddy James is a young man to be reckoned with. When he sets his mind to something, it gets done. It turns out that Freddy is a bigger man than his father, Big Kenny, because he stays around to help the people he feels a duty and love for. He works hard, and in the end he knows with surety and pride just where he's going, and lays some pretty good plans about how to get there. This is a story about a boy growing into quiet strength, in spite of a runaway father, a lost farm, a mother who is crushed by the sudden turns of fortune in her life, and a little brother who drives him crazy. I enjoyed it very much. Freddy is a strong, no-nonsense character who would serve as a role model for many of us.
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