I cannot believe this book was originally published in 1919! The story was beautifully written and made for a wonderful family read aloud. Children today can relate to the way the children in the book communicated via blackboards! As we finished the last chapter, my nine year old exclaimed that this has been his favorite TGTB book so far. My six year old requested that I look to see if there’s a sequel!
A lovely, sweet story that made me weep with joy at the ending. The ending was exactly what my heart wanted and so seldom gets at the end of a book.
My daughter says this book was good- the characters, how they acted, and the story! But, it was too short- because at the end they said (spoiler?) they were going to go to the farm, and they didn’t even put that part in the book. She wanted it to go on longer because she thinks the ending would have been a really good ending. (She’s 8 and in Level 3 language arts.) From my perspective, she had trouble putting this book down 🙂
My 9 year old read this book aloud to me, and we really liked it. The main characters’ friendship is so sweet and caring. The ‘problem’ in the story kept us on the edge of our seats for several chapters, but we enjoyed the way it was resolved in the end. This book left us feeling happy and uplifted.
We loved the plot and the genuine characters. Melissa, the main character, is especially relatable for many children.
I did not find the story in any way offensive especially taking in account of the era it was written. In any recommendation of this book, however, readers should be aware that this story contains several references that do not align with political correctness standards of today: play of cowboys and Indians, referring to sick child as an invalid, foreigners being poor/dangerous.
Set in New York in the early 1900s, Melissa Across the Fence begins with an enchanting description of the grand house next door. “In the rear, a lawn ran right back to the fence, broken only by a narrow gravel walk and with a stone fountain directly in the middle. In the spring and summer, water bubbled up in the fountain basin in jets of flying spray . . . But there was one strange thing about the house that puzzled Melissa: nobody ever seemed to live in it.” However, that soon changes when the shut-up house becomes occupied and Melissa sees a mysterious, pale-looking boy always looking out his window. Who is he? Why does he never come outside? Melissa finds out by writing a message on her chalkboard and holding it up outside the boy’s window. A sweet story of friendship ensues, sprinkled with gentle adventure.
“One of the best ways to form noble, beautiful character and writing skills in a child is to give the child books that are noble and beautiful—books like Melissa Across the Fence. We are proud to be bringing back literature by Augusta Huiell Seaman—a well-loved, gifted author who published over 40 books for children.”—Jenny Phillips
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