Houseboat Girl, Lois Lenski, J B Lippincott Company, 1957, 176 pp
THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ
Houseboat Girl is another Lois Lenski book that stands out in my memory as a favorite when I was growing up. I was ten years old when it was first published and I bet I found it at the library. I did not find it at the library in 2012, but my sister collects the Lenski books and she had a copy. It has also recently been republished in paperback and as an eBook by Open Road Media.
Patsy is going through that most wrenching experience for a ten-year-old girl of moving away from all your friends. On top of that, her family is setting off in a houseboat, planning to live on the Mississippi River all summer with no firm destination in mind. Patsy's parents are river people who get restless when they stay too long in one place.
Patsy's story is similar to Birdie Boyer's in Strawberry Girl. Both girls are in new locales and situations and have to learn about "mean people" when their fathers get into conflicts with other men. Like Judy in Judy's Journey, Patsy wants to settle down in a real house somewhere so she can go to school and have friends. But she also discovers the wonders of the river and the excitement of being on a journey.
The book is part of Lenski's American Regional Series. I'm amused at myself to have discovered that I read all the "girl" stories and skipped the "boy" ones when I was a kid. Obviously I was not boy crazy yet. By the time I was, I had moved on to Beverly Cleary's teen books.
(Houseboat Girl is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)