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The Spinning Wheel Secret

Lillie V. Albrecht

Originally published in hardcover (1965) by Hastings House

Under Construction

Children's Historical Fiction, ages 9-12.

Joan Tower’s two big brothers didn’t want a baby sister. So they called her Jo and never admitted that she was a girl.

Even though the neighbors disapprove, Jo is happier doing boys’ jobs. A properly-brought-up young girl in a New England Puritan village of 1705 would never know all the useful skills, like fishing and swimming, that Jo learns from Dan and Sam. When it comes to doing ordinary household tasks, though, she believes she's hopeless. She’s not much good at cooking or knitting, and spinning thread is simply beyond her--a fact which her disapproving, fault-finding aunt and cousin never fail to point out.

But when Indians attack their little village of Hatfield and carry off many captives, including Jo’s mother, Jo and her brothers must make their way alone to Westfield to find shelter with their grandfather. In Westfield, however, more bad news awaits them, and Jo will find her own resources and courage sorely tested.

"There have been a spate of stories lately which take off from the common young female dilemma--that it seems much more fun to be a boy. This book handles the problem very well with bonus extras of Pilgrim history that has a real ring, and characters with less than Pilgrim standards of perfection in their daily living. ... Joan couldn't spin, knit, cook and clean because she didn't want to, but after the Indian raid on her village when her mother was 'captivated' (the use of early New Englandisms adds flavor to the dialogue throughout) Joan found she needed every skill to meet the wants of her family. Before the story is over, she finds her fishing, hunting and swimming prowess called on too, in a plot that remains reasonable as well as exciting. For younger girls in this age group, a treat instead of the usual treatment."

Kirkus Reviews (1965)

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