HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Rachel and Obadiah
Author and Illustrator: Brinton Turkle
Publisher: Beautiful Feet Books, republished 2004
Related website: http://www.bfbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: read-to ages 3 and up, read alone ages 7 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Turkle, Brinton. Rachel and Obadiah (originally published in 1973 by E. P. Dutton, a division of Sequoia-Elsevier Publishing Company; republished in 2004 by Beautiful Feet Books Inc., 1306 Mill St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401). Obadiah Starbuck lives with his Father, Mother, older brothers Moses and Asa, and sisters Rebecca and Rachel among the Friends (Quakers) of Nantucket Island, MA, back in the days when Nantucket’s whaling ships could be away at sea for years at a time and a vessel’s safe return was celebrated by all the inhabitants of the island. One day, Obadiah and Rachel are picking blackberries, although Obadiah is eating more than he is saving, when their brother Asa brings the news from miller Jacob Slade of the Clio’s arrival and receives a silver coin for his efforts.
The Speedwell is also set to come back soon, and Obadiah asks if he can be chosen to announce its return and get the coin. However, his younger sister Rachel is certain that she too can be trusted with such a mission. But Obadiah says that girls cannot run as fast as boys. Miller Slade agrees to a race to see who is faster with the winner getting the job. Will the race be fair? What happens when they pass a blackberry patch? And who wins? Author Brinton Turkle, who was born in Alliance, OH, illustrated this delightful story of determination and sportsmanship with whimsical watercolors throughout as well.
Rachel and Obadiah, which also contains an important message about the danger of boasting and a surprise example of generosity at the end, is part of a series of four “Obadiah” Books, which are great historical fiction for youngsters. After children learn to read, they need short, engaging books with which to practice their newly developed skills, and these would be great for that. They are word-heavy picture books, so beginning readers might require some help. The other volumes in the series are Thy Friend, Obadiah, which won a Caldecott Honor award in 1970; Obadiah the Bold; and The Adventures of Obadiah.