Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Darlene Beck Jacobson is providing a fun sneak peek of her debut MG, WHEELS OF CHANGE.  Instead of providing a straight passage, she's giving us a taste of her writing style by offering us her favorite sentences and descriptions of the book.

(I thoroughly enjoyed WHEELS OF CHANGE; my review can be found here.)

From Darlene -
Five of my favorite sentences from WOC:

1.      Papa rushes past before I can hide, a teetering pile of wood planks on one shoulder, paint cans hung elbow to wrist, like ornaments on a Christmas tree. 

2.      An unexpected visit from a bear would be more welcome than one from Beatrice Peabody.  Better known as Beatrice Busybody or Bea Pea as Charlie likes to call her.  If boasting and gossip were subjects in school, Beatrice would be the star pupil.  She spreads rumors like a mosquito spreads malaria.

3.       Mrs. Peabody dismisses her court of worshippers and waddles to the judges table, settling her plumage right in front of the Reverend and Mrs. Porter.

4.       When I’m feeling my meanest, I sometimes wish all the people who judged folks by their skin color were struck blind.  Then would it matter?  Papa says if I wish for things like that, then I’m no better than the people I’m wishing it on.

5.       Mr. Martin looks at me with his face all frowning and dark, like he sees something he’s not pleased to look at.  Or he ate something disagreeable.  Or he’s been sitting downwind of a pile of fresh manure.   

Five favorite descriptions:

1.      I dance across the sawdust-covered floor past Sam, Papa’s woodworker.  His saw hums like a busy beehive, slicing planks of wood.   I pick up handfuls of the slivers, inhaling their fresh-cut fragrance.  The slivers stick to my sweaty palms; I wipe my hands on my dress to loosen them.  The slivers stick there as well, like they’ve found a home.

2.      Old Mrs. Crabtree – perfectly named to fit her grouchy disposition – nods her greeting to Mama and gives the rest of us the once over.  Her freckled forehead is so full of frown wrinkles, it reminds me of a freshly plowed field. 

Papa says nothing, but his head is high and the air around us seems to sing.  I feel like the wagon might sprout wings and lift us skyward like the fanciful contraption made by the Wright Brothers that Miss Carlisle told us about.  Then again, looking at Papa, I realize you don’t need wings to fly.

This kitchen is smaller than ours, but it’s clean and tidy and as warm as a piece of bread fresh from the oven.  I like how the chairs are all different designs.  Ours at home all match, which seems dull next to the variety here.  Like everyone has a chair of his own.  Special.  I can’t stop a smile when I see a horseshoe hanging over the door, just like the one I got from Henry.

Instead of the usual Naphtha soap, Mama hands me a bar of her special lavender scented soap.  I rub it over my cotton chemise until I get some suds.  Mama helps with the back.  She scrubs my hair until my scalp tingles and I holler in protest.  Then, I slip off the chemise and soak in the suds.  The warm, soapy water slides over my skin like fancy silk.  The smell of lavender makes me wish for summer.  I’d stay in the tub until it got cold, but William has to have his turn.  I wrap myself in a towel and after putting on clean nightclothes, I sit while Mama tortures my hair with a comb, trying to work out the tangles.  When she gets tired of my squirming and hollering, she rubs a little mineral oil on the comb to help it slide through. I go to bed feeling pampered and content, like a spoiled cat.

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