Summer in the Okefenokee Swamp is wonderful for young Elsie Mae,
because she's the only kid staying with her grandparents. She loves her
brothers and sisters, but the family home is busy and noisy. This year,
ELSIE MAE HAS SOMETHING TO
SAY! She thinks what she has to say s so important, she writes a
letter to the White House, in the hope that President Roosevelt will read
it. She is only an eleven-year-old girl, but she hopes to make a
In this adventure, a shipping company intends to build a canal through
the swamp and a lumber company is cutting down trees, changing the
natural environment forever. The example can be used for any situation
of injustice or David and Goliath situations, in which every voice
matters no matter how small.
By following the eager girl's days with a new dog, a boat, huckleberries
to pick, eggs to collect, and hog bandits to catch, not to mention the
ever-present threat of 'gators, we learn about life in the area for people
and animals who depend on the swamp. With no television, computers
or electronic games, Elsie Mae yet manages to occupy herself and have
tremendous fun. We also meet a fine collection of characters, including
young Henry James, her cousin who aspires to be a traveling preacher
like his daddy. Her dog Huck is another strong character who causes
trouble and shares the escapades.
The homey food, such as fried catfish, fresh-picked greens, and
cornbread, followed by tasty huckleberry pie, helps to set the scene.
After that though, we go from doggedness to excitement, triumph to
despair, from pride to a fall. Young readers can learn a great deal by
reading Nancy Cavanaugh's enjoyable adventure, and I don't just mean
the historical notes at the end. A middle grade book,
ELSIE MAE HAS SOMETHING TO
SAY will appeal to readers from eight upwards, especially girls, and
I'm sure it will be greatly enjoyed by parents and teachers as well.
Elsie Mae is pretty sure this'll be the best summer
She gets to explore the cool, quiet
waters of the Okefenokee Swamp around her grandparents'
house with her new dog, Huck, and she's written a letter to
President Roosevelt that she's confident will save the swamp
from a shipping company and make her a major hometown hero.
Then, news reaches Elsie Mae of some hog bandits stealing
from swamper families, and she sees another opportunity to
make her family proud while waiting to hear back from the
But when her cousin Henry James, who
dreams of one day becoming a traveling preacher like his
daddy, shows up and just about ruins her investigation with
his "Hallelujahs," Elsie Mae will learn the hard way what it
really means to be a hero.