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Red-Dirt Jessie by Anna Myers
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Red-Dirt Jessie

by Anna Myers

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Jessie, a young girl living in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Depression, tries to tame a wild dog and help her father recover from a nervous breakdown.

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Summary:
Red Dirt Jessie is a historic book about a family who experiences death of one of the youngest members of their family. A father who in a sense dies mentally with the little one. He does nothing but rocks in his rocking chair and barely eats. A mother along with two other children names Jessie and Hobart Jr. are forced to take on duties that dad can not fill at his moment of mental absence. Father has a sister who is moving away to California and tells Jessie that they have a dog at her house that if she could tame she could have him. Jessie takes care of the dog from that time on taking him food and water. One day Jessie and Hobart Jr. finds the dog wounded. He was shot in his leg. They got the dog home and nursed him the best they could. Mother had to let the dog go because he snapped at Jessie. One night while Jessie was asleep she heard wolves in the chicken coup she ran out throwing rocks to scare them off. The nest night her and her brother would camp out to keep watch to make sure the wolves did not steal any more chickens. While watching a wild dog came up wondering around and cornered Hobart Jr. Jessie had to distract the dog in order for H.J to run and get help. H.J ran in and somehow awakened Hobart Sr. out of his mental absence. Once they got outside two dogs were fighting one was the dog that the family nursed back to health. Dad has his shot gun and shot the wild dog. From then on the family was back to the lives they had with the father and the addition of a new dog.

Personal Reaction:
I enjoyed this book because it kept my interest with all that went on. The beginning is what really caught me with the death of the young girl I had to see how this story turned out. How the family coped with the loss, and if daddy ever came out his mental absence. It was very satisfying to see how everything turned out for the family.

Extension Ideas:
Talk about ways to deal with the loss of a loved ones or anyone in general.
Talk about how times have changes from the time in the book.
  Dr3a | Mar 18, 2016 |
Red-Dirt Jessie is by Oklahoma author Anna Myers. At the beginning of the book Jessie, the narrator of the story, tells us that her little sister Patsy has just died. After this Jessie begins to see the downward mental slide of her father. Jessie’s aunt tells Jessie that the red dirt of Oklahoma “seeps under our skin and makes us too blamed stubborn to give up when things turn rough.” Throughout the book Jessie is trying to overcome her timidity. We can see that Jessie’s mother is a strong woman who won’t give up even though her child has just died and her husband has turned away from the world. Eventually Jessie realizes that she is a strong young woman and she helps to save her family’s chickens from coyotes and wild dogs. In the process a wild dog comes after Jessie and her younger brother. Their father, luckily, decides to come back to the world and save them just in time.
I liked this book. I did feel like it could be a longer story because at times it did feel rushed.
Because the book is set in Oklahoma during the Depression, I would have the students find out more information on the Depression and the Dust Bowl. ( )
  mmuncy | Dec 5, 2010 |
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