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.
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.
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.
We loved this uplifting tale of a young girl showing compassion and friendship to an ailing boy. She was so fun and caring in how she interacted with him, truly a bright light in his life. Another great book about friendship and showing love and compassion for others.
I read this book to my 7 year old and 5 year old. We were able to talk about having empathy for others who are hurting. I was uncomfortable with their play of “cowboys and Indians,” however, we were able to talk about how kids played back when the book was published and how kids play today.
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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