Gus never imagined himself a parent at 13. But in the summer of 1942, living on his grandparents' Vermont farm while his father serves in the army and his mother recuperates in a tuberculosis sanatorium, Gus adopts a clutch of orphaned duck eggs, and learns what it is to be responsible for another living thing. He also meets a girl named Louise, who helps him care for the ducks—though Gus's grandparents and the rest of their farming community do not approve of her poverty-stricken French-Canadian family. Nancy Price Graff's novel for readers 10 to 13 vividly evokes farm life and the years of World War II.
"Writing with clarity that is as firm and stoic as Gus's grandparents, Graff takes readers back to a time when children were expected to live up to family values, hard work was part of the natural order, and prejudice was unapologetic.... Graff captures what is different about a time gone by and illuminates what remains the same."—Booklist (starred review)