Meindert DeJong: Journey from Peppermint Street



Fter I first read it Siebren goes with his grandfather on a great adventure walking across the marshes to visit Aunt Hinka Siebren has never left his small village and we feel his excitement and apprehension as he passes the last house on the outskirts of the townFilled with wonder fear and courage Journey from Peppermint Street is a delightful book for younger readers I love Meindert DeJong s writing This is my second DeJong book He wrote mostly children s literature which is my favorite I was first attracted to this book by the title but nowing the author and reading the summary I Ultralearning knew I wanted to read it Since it is out of print my sister pulled through with a copy that she found on line and gave to me for my birthday It is about a little boy who has to spend much of his time taking care of his little brother and has little time left to be a child One day his Grandfather takes him on a journey to see his great aunt and along the way he experiences childhood pleasures and grown up problems I love how DeJong understands children and completely captures the way they think and learn I also love his writing stylehere is a uote from the bookHe took his good hand and placed it in Grandfather s hand and together they walked toward the turning mill Where the sun went down would be the marsh and the monastery in the marsh and the frogs and the storks and the cranes and the herons and two people walking and nobody laughing and everything strange lovely wonderful This is my favorite book from my childhood I read it in fifth grade The writing is so vivid that I fondly remembered scenes from the book thirteen years later It s out of print now but I recently read it again and still think it s wonderful It is written from the point of view of a young boy and while his experiences are told in a childish manner adults can still relate to the physical pain and emotional turmoil he experiences in the story Journey from Peppermint street is an adventure story set in the Netherlands It s a pretty religious little book and that threw me for a loop The book could be divided into three sections Luck superstition and miracles God and good ol Satan triumph over all three sections which is too bad I like my adventure stories to be on the magical side of things This adventure was on the opposite end of that spectrum I thought On the psychological realism sideThe setting was great the bouncy ball that save. T was alive with ten hundred thousand fireflies darting in the night and frogs booming at them But Grandpa said it was dangerous too they had toeep on the pa.

A curious book this contains a lot of interior reflection on the part of Siebren the young protagonist We read his thoughts and his rational process as he sorts out puzzles in his head His endearing little boy inside comes through in his interactions with some of the adults mainly but not exclusively the women The story is slow moving with occasional bursts of excitement It addresses the concept of reality and fantasy rumors fears miracles and Set near the author s hometown it gives a vivid description of a time past before electricity and telephones connected distant or even not so distant places The action takes place in the early 1900s so this is well after the Netherlands of Hans Brinker but much closer to that of Hilda van Stockum s A Day on Skates The Story of a Dutch Picnic It is interesting to see how the times change or don t change things and Siebren s concerns are both refreshingly simple but also very serious The Van Stockum book concerns itself with frolicking children and their activities in a populous village while this is about one child interacting with adults in a lonesome place of twilight and darkness The uncommon thoughtfulness puts this in the same league as some of the books of Eleanor Estes such as Ginger Pye There s a little lost dog aspect to this book as well That De Jong is looking back on the time of his childhood after a half century or allows for a modern approach to be applied to the story of an earlier time I enjoyed the story and the childish perspective from which it was told Siebren thinks like a nine year old and as he travels away from home for the first time he is learning to understand the world with each passing experience I loved the winsome spirit of his Aunt Hinka and Uncle Siebren They are the ind of grown ups that I want to be Two reasons for a four star review rather than five First the writing dragged on at times It was definitely the author s choice and the story was well written but I have never had the patience for that type of writing Second The book talked a lot about being a handball of Satan and of miracles and even spoke of church and the Bible but did not mention God once That troubles me in a book that I would pass on to children I don t want them to buy into the idea that we can have all of those other things and live a good life while overlooking God This gentle coming of age story still resonates with me than 40 years Siebren could hardly believe it here he was walking with his grandfather all the way to Aunt Hinka's in the dark too Now he and Grandpa had reached the marsh

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S Grandpa from the marshes my favorite the folklore delightfully bizarre and obscure The handball of Satan you do not want to be a handball of I don t have the words So much wisdom insight are woven into this tale of a certain special child s uniue set of adventures some small some dramatic some mundane some Philosophical over the course of an easily countable number of hours in a setting most of us are completely unfamiliar with at the beginning but that will feel like a second home by the end DeJong has outdone himself I appreciated it even the second timeA writer would appreciate it even as the author is a master of language characterization pacing etcA better review is Erica s believe it to be a sort of touchstone book If you like it too we probably have a lot congruity in our taste in books and vice versa Check it out on openlibrary especially if you want a good book to read aloud to your about 7 10 year old childWhere the sun went down would be the marsh and the monastery in the marsh and the frogs and the storks and the cranes and the herons and two people walking and nobody laughing and everything strange lovely wonderful To the end of all our days It sounded like a prayer it was as lovely as a litany This is an excellent choice to read aloud to children ages 4 to 9 Each event that happens is small but with significance to the young boy and also to the young reader listener Traveling along with Siebren and his grandfather on the path to his aunt s house we get so completely caught up in his joy about such things as finding and getting to eep a ball that the extremely dramatic magical ending is an exultant joy I am not spoiling it to tell you this because I ve left out all details and you will very likely have forgotten it in the minutiae of the departure the My dear late aunt bought this book for us a very long time ago I finally got around to reading it It takes place in the early 1900 s in Holland It is the story of a 10 year old boy who has never left his home village as he travels inland with his grandfather to visit his great auntsWhile the book won several awards including a Newberry I am mixed about how good it is The descriptions of Dutch life are very fascinating However the internal states of the boy take away from the story He is far too maudlin about too many things I don t think we see the boy ua boy but as an adult would have us think a boy thinks JAR5 DeJ. Th when SPLASH Grandpa fell in Aunt Hinka came to the rescue in her little boat just in time Oh what a menacing and magical journey it was from Peppermint Stre.

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Meindert De Jong was an award winning author of children's books He was born in the village of Wierum of the province of Friesland in the NetherlandsDe Jong immigrated to the United States with his family in 1914 He attended Dutch Calvinist secondary schools and Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan and entered the University of Chicago but left without graduatingHe held various jobs d