Louisiana's Song
Kerry Madden
Viking, 2007

Louisiana's Song

In an engaging sequel to Gentle's Holler (2005), Madden continues the story of the Weems family, and brings painfully shy and artistically talented 11-year-old Louise, the fourth of ten children, into sharper focus: "It's only folks that scare Louise, not storms or snakes." Set in Appalachia in 1963, the family struggles to cope when their daddy comes home from the Rip Van Winkle rest home after eight months; he's slowly recovering from a car wreck and coma, but suffers from auditory hallucinations, has trouble with language and sometimes wanders off. "Who knew that a quieter Daddy would be the loudest sound in the world?" Twelve-year-old Livy Two again provides a poignant and spirited lens from which to view their hardscrabble yet loving family life. Resourceful as ever, she's determined to figure out a way to help her family so they won't have to leave their beloved mountain holler and move to their grandmother's house in "Enka-Stinka," next to a textile plant. This second of three Maggie Valley stories is a celebration of artists and words, and, though somewhat idealized, Madden's fluid and heartfelt storytelling will leave young readers looking forward to more.

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