Barn Boot Blues, though an interesting, alliterative title, has an ever-changing storyline. I wish the author would have developed her scenes more thoroughly and drawn me into it more. I read this short book quite quickly, but it left me with mixed feelings.
While I wanted to see how things turned out, I was repulsed by the manner in which author, Catherine Friend, worded one section of the text. I am always surprised when a book that is presumably supposed to be aimed at fourth graders makes sexual remarks. And this time, it is the teacher who initiates the thoughts. The book, to be fair, is not about this and doesn't need the quick, passing remarks concerning the assignment made in a middle school class in which teams are designing houses. When a boy and girl refuse to work together and end up designing separate houses, the teacher unnecessarily remarks about the shapes of their houses resembling respective body parts.
On the other hand, it's not very often one comes across a book about a good girl turned bad (and then back to good). It might give some students a little guilty pleasure to see how the main character can break the rules on purpose.
Here is a synopsis of the story from Catherine Friend's website:
When Taylor’s parents drag her onto a farm, she tries to adapt to life with sheep and goats and chickens. But when the farm’s daily surprises repeatedly embarrass her at school, Taylor wants out. With the help of a new friend, Taylor embarks on a plan to convince her parents to move them back to the city. Just as she succeeds, she discovers---late one night alone in the barn---that a farm has one surprising advantage over city life.
Barn Boot Blues delivers more mixed feelings at the ending. As an author, I understand the need to finish a book without explaining to much to the reader, but as a reader, this can be frustrating. After becoming so invested in a character, I wanted to see more of how things turned out for her and her friends.