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Miracles on Maple Hill

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Marly and her family share many adventures when they move from the city to a farmhouse on Maple Hill.


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Marly and her family share many adventures when they move from the city to a farmhouse on Maple Hill.

30 review for Miracles on Maple Hill

  1. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    I am not at all surprised that this book won the Newbery Medal in 1957: besides having a pleasant pastoral narrative and lyrical dialogue, Miracles has an engaging, young, at times naive main character. Marly is most admirable in her search for miracles and especially in her discovery that she can create her own miracles. I rejoiced along with her when the sap first rose in the trees and when "the twigs turned to lace" and when her daddy started feeling better after everything that had happened I am not at all surprised that this book won the Newbery Medal in 1957: besides having a pleasant pastoral narrative and lyrical dialogue, Miracles has an engaging, young, at times naive main character. Marly is most admirable in her search for miracles and especially in her discovery that she can create her own miracles. I rejoiced along with her when the sap first rose in the trees and when "the twigs turned to lace" and when her daddy started feeling better after everything that had happened to him in the war. I also enjoyed the focus on sibling relationships. Marly and Joe come to understand one another better as they learn to celebrate their differences. Their relationship is not perfect at the end of the story, but it is improved. This portrayal of brother and sister is more true-to-the-life than a perfectly devoted pair of siblings. I also thought that the father's experience with PTSD was a realistic consequence of postwar life. The end of WWII created some problems as it destroyed others. I would recommend this middle-grade book to anyone interested in a story about miracles and family.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    This is the kind of book I was afraid I was in for when I decided to read the Newbery books. The truth is that it was and it wasn’t. A white family, looking at the world, saying, “Oh gosh,” and “Oh golly,” facing issues like the son staying out too late and wondering where he is, facing how to get the big maple sugar crop in before it ruins, and lots and lots of “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.” But it was also more. Dad was thought killed after time in a war camp, but he returns home, safe but This is the kind of book I was afraid I was in for when I decided to read the Newbery books. The truth is that it was and it wasn’t. A white family, looking at the world, saying, “Oh gosh,” and “Oh golly,” facing issues like the son staying out too late and wondering where he is, facing how to get the big maple sugar crop in before it ruins, and lots and lots of “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.” But it was also more. Dad was thought killed after time in a war camp, but he returns home, safe but scarred. Marly, the ten-year-old daughter, doesn’t listen to all the warnings about girls being unable to do things. Moving to the country heals. The family develops a deep friendship with an elderly couple nearby. The couple is warm and loving, but does not come across as overly false. The details about maple sugaring are fun and new. The family heals, and reading about that process feels good. Yes, there are (sorry) sappy parts, but they, too, feel part of the time in which the story was written. Refreshing, somehow.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Sixty years after it was first published, Virginia Sorenson’s Miracles on Maple Hill remains as fresh as it was when it was first released in 1956. How is it that I had never even heard of this Newbery Award-winning book until it was an Amazon Daily Deal? In a time of Iraq- and Afghanistan-induced PTSD, modern readers will completely identify with 10-year-old Marly, her shell-shocked former POW father, Dale, and her patient but overwhelmed peace-keeping mother, Lee. Lee hopes that moving into her Sixty years after it was first published, Virginia Sorenson’s Miracles on Maple Hill remains as fresh as it was when it was first released in 1956. How is it that I had never even heard of this Newbery Award-winning book until it was an Amazon Daily Deal? In a time of Iraq- and Afghanistan-induced PTSD, modern readers will completely identify with 10-year-old Marly, her shell-shocked former POW father, Dale, and her patient but overwhelmed peace-keeping mother, Lee. Lee hopes that moving into her own grandmother’s farmhouse, Maple Hill — “Up here, there’s all outdoors!” Grandma used to say — will help Dale heal and end the sullenness, tiredness and flashes of temper that have bedeviled the family. And it’s no spoiler to say that Maple Hill transforms the family and its dynamics. Hey, it’s right in the title! But the novel is never cloying, and readers — young and old — will adore every bit. Highly, highly recommended!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lexy

    I read this in school when I was little and I read again today and I thought it was a very good

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    This 1957 Newbery medal winner is a delightful, slow walk into a time when old fashioned values were the norm -- a time when children were polite; a time when children respected parents; a time when neighbors helped one another; a time when there was less focus on "me" and more focus on "us". Yet, the book is timeless in addressing issues that are still with us today. Marly's father returns from the war, while the specific war isn't mentioned, one can assume WWII. Marly's father was a POW and is This 1957 Newbery medal winner is a delightful, slow walk into a time when old fashioned values were the norm -- a time when children were polite; a time when children respected parents; a time when neighbors helped one another; a time when there was less focus on "me" and more focus on "us". Yet, the book is timeless in addressing issues that are still with us today. Marly's father returns from the war, while the specific war isn't mentioned, one can assume WWII. Marly's father was a POW and is deeply emotionally tramatized with post tramatic stress. Leaving the city life behind, the family moves back to the family home in rural Pennsylvania. They arrive during the time when the maple sugar is flowing from the trees. A gentle neighbor friend shows them the joys of capturing the maple and processing it. While the book is corny and perhaps some would say hokey, I enjoyed it for the wonderful message of the healing powers of nature and the joys of life simply embraced when leaving behind the chaos of a frantic life style. (

  6. 5 out of 5

    HanjingW_C2

    This is such a simple and sweet book, but I got captured by it from the start. The theme of family really stood out to me. Mary's whole family moved into a mountain just to help her dad heal. The fact that they care so much about him that they would sacrifice their lives for him deeply touches me. Also, the relationship between Mary and her brother is pretty relatable to me. They fight but still care deeply for each other, just like me and my brother. This is such a simple and sweet book, but I got captured by it from the start. The theme of family really stood out to me. Mary's whole family moved into a mountain just to help her dad heal. The fact that they care so much about him that they would sacrifice their lives for him deeply touches me. Also, the relationship between Mary and her brother is pretty relatable to me. They fight but still care deeply for each other, just like me and my brother.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ladydusk

    Own. We read this for a long time and it was really lovely but we only read a little at a time during Morning Time and it felt like it took forever. But it was good.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aura

    We had an hour to spare in the evening, and this very old Newbery (1956!) has been lying around for some time a la the sister unit, so we read it in one sitting and promptly went to bed. That is not a reflection on the quality of the book, necessarily. We have been tired. But this is the kind of book after which you can rest peacefully in bed, which recently we have been considering a good thing. So are we going to talk about the plot? Well. We're not sure what the plot is, exactly. We could sta We had an hour to spare in the evening, and this very old Newbery (1956!) has been lying around for some time a la the sister unit, so we read it in one sitting and promptly went to bed. That is not a reflection on the quality of the book, necessarily. We have been tired. But this is the kind of book after which you can rest peacefully in bed, which recently we have been considering a good thing. So are we going to talk about the plot? Well. We're not sure what the plot is, exactly. We could start with blabbering something like "this is a story to warm the heart," which is a nice thought on wintry days, but marketing-blurb talk is cheap, so we won't. We could say it's about a family going to a lovely woodsy farm called Maple Hill - which is the premise of the novel, but what's the plot? What's the progression? The overarching conflict? We are not sure. Things just happen on Maple Hill; the characters don't do things because they're compelled to make choices based on changing circumstances, but because it's the kind of thing they normally do. The novel is a fleeting snapshot of a forgotten lifestyle in seasons, sometimes saccharine-sweet, sometimes still and spare. Amid the vigorous heart-warming, the father's struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder surprised us. So did the sinuous thread of sexism, although this was 1956. Still, we found no plot. Reading this, however, is like reading a chapter from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, or eating syrup. And it's cloying but harmless, tender yet distant, reflective though quaint. We didn't love it, or even like it that much really, but we might think of it when we content ourselves with cheap store-bought syrup because we never lived that world and never will. And probably at some point - because we do have a heart sometimes, we swear - we will pick up an old family photo album and admire how all the rough bits are fondly yet vigorously smoothed over by glossed surfaces and laughing color. Or we might reread this book. Same thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    I was annoyed with the tone, but really liked the atmosphere... if that makes any sense. Three stars just because it's a classic. The general vocabulary and dialogue was not great. The voices of the kids annoyed me. Especially the way they bragged and tacked "... and everything!" on to every other sentence. Though I don't know if I was annoyed at the voices because it was an audio book or if it's the actual content. I guess we're supposed to be delighted with the innocence and beauty of it all. Bu I was annoyed with the tone, but really liked the atmosphere... if that makes any sense. Three stars just because it's a classic. The general vocabulary and dialogue was not great. The voices of the kids annoyed me. Especially the way they bragged and tacked "... and everything!" on to every other sentence. Though I don't know if I was annoyed at the voices because it was an audio book or if it's the actual content. I guess we're supposed to be delighted with the innocence and beauty of it all. But I've come to expect more from children's books. It needs more than just a nice setting to impress me. It needs to do more within that setting. I don't understand why the kids are so excited over sap being boiled into syrup. Besides for the fact that it's sugar, what about the process captures their attention and makes them so energetic? The adults are mystified in the same way. Too unrealistic. Newbery Medal winner in 1957.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    What I loved most about this book were descriptions of the wild, wonderful natural world. The author is gifted in describing things in a way that made me feel like I was seeing them for the first time. Although the plot is quite simple, it really stirred me how the family is revitalized by their connection to the goodness of people and the beauty and wonder of nature. The outdoor adventures that Marly and her brother had also reminded me a lot of my own childhood. Joe was a bit of a brat sometim What I loved most about this book were descriptions of the wild, wonderful natural world. The author is gifted in describing things in a way that made me feel like I was seeing them for the first time. Although the plot is quite simple, it really stirred me how the family is revitalized by their connection to the goodness of people and the beauty and wonder of nature. The outdoor adventures that Marly and her brother had also reminded me a lot of my own childhood. Joe was a bit of a brat sometimes (and he said “shut up” too much), but I loved Marly. She was a real kindred spirit in many ways. I especially love her compassionate nature. In summary, I found this book absolutely darling and, as the title would imply, even quietly magical.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Intriago

    This was a 1957 Newbery award winner. Dad (Dale) has returned from being a POW in WWII. The mother (Lee) thinks a summer spent at Lee's parent's house in the country outside Pittsburgh will help her husband readjust. Ten year old Marly is excited to go; twelve year old Joe is not too sure. This is really a heartwarming story about what they all discover during their summer and the subsequent year they spend on Maple Hill. For Marly - it's all about the miracles. She sees them in everything. This was a 1957 Newbery award winner. Dad (Dale) has returned from being a POW in WWII. The mother (Lee) thinks a summer spent at Lee's parent's house in the country outside Pittsburgh will help her husband readjust. Ten year old Marly is excited to go; twelve year old Joe is not too sure. This is really a heartwarming story about what they all discover during their summer and the subsequent year they spend on Maple Hill. For Marly - it's all about the miracles. She sees them in everything.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A little syrupy-sweet, but nice.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shannon { Library Girl Reading }

    Low 3 stars , just not my cup of tea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kerstin

    Newbery Winner 1957 Such a darling story! A father comes home from WWII where he was a prisoner of war and has trouble re-adjusting to home life. So the family moves into grandma's old cabin in the country. Here they start a new life full of discoveries of the beauty of the seasons, working on the land, making maple syrup, finding new neighbors and friends, and most of all, healing. Newbery Winner 1957 Such a darling story! A father comes home from WWII where he was a prisoner of war and has trouble re-adjusting to home life. So the family moves into grandma's old cabin in the country. Here they start a new life full of discoveries of the beauty of the seasons, working on the land, making maple syrup, finding new neighbors and friends, and most of all, healing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah B

    I really loved this adventure story from a simpler era. It's about a young girl named Marly who is ten years old. Her father just returned home from the war and he needs to recover..thus they move to the countryside and Maple Hill. Once there Marly discovers many simple miracles created by nature: wildflowers, foxes and deer, mushrooms, cows and goats, collecting maple syrup, etc... Marly is an interesting character. She can get scared easily but she also learns from her mistakes. She's helpful, I really loved this adventure story from a simpler era. It's about a young girl named Marly who is ten years old. Her father just returned home from the war and he needs to recover..thus they move to the countryside and Maple Hill. Once there Marly discovers many simple miracles created by nature: wildflowers, foxes and deer, mushrooms, cows and goats, collecting maple syrup, etc... Marly is an interesting character. She can get scared easily but she also learns from her mistakes. She's helpful, kind and loves every little creature. She doesn't always get along with her brother. I think these things make her realistic. And she also faces some big problems in the book, the biggest one near the end. I also enjoyed some of the really old things the book mentioned, like the springhouse (which was used as a refrigerator). The story moves along nicely and it's fun to read. It's also illustrated with many black and white drawings..it kept me very entertained.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Marly is enthralled by her mother’s stories of visiting her grandmother’s farm on Maple Hill where there is all outdoors to play in. But will Maple Hill work its miracle for her father, withdrawn from his family and quick to anger after his wartime experiences? Rereading after many years, I found this a bit old-fashioned, but a beautiful celebration of life in the country in all its seasons, including the detailed descriptions of the hard work and rewards of maple sugaring. “This was why Mr Chri Marly is enthralled by her mother’s stories of visiting her grandmother’s farm on Maple Hill where there is all outdoors to play in. But will Maple Hill work its miracle for her father, withdrawn from his family and quick to anger after his wartime experiences? Rereading after many years, I found this a bit old-fashioned, but a beautiful celebration of life in the country in all its seasons, including the detailed descriptions of the hard work and rewards of maple sugaring. “This was why Mr Chris loved sugaring time. Now she knew it. He loved not only spring coming and the warm fire and the good tastes and lovely smells, but cutting wood and hanging buckets and gathering sap and watching the slow change from plain watery sap to the deep amber of the finished syrup. And he loved the work itself.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ms. B

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Told over the course of year, this is a story about the miracles of nature observed by ten year-old Marly whose family moves from the big city (Pittsburgh) to Maple Hill. It starts with maple syruping and ends with maple syruping. Give this one to those who like stories about the great outdoors, farming or gardening. Or who simply want to learn what life may have been like for their grandparents or great grandparents.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    What a simple, warm feel good book about family, friends and seeing all the small miracles that make life special. I highly recommend it :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Book Scrounger)

    3.5 stars This was a good read for March, because it starts and ends with maple sugaring season, which is something that used to be a huge part of my life in March, so I appreciate that aspect, as well as the general curiosity and observation of other forms of nature throughout the seasons. This story involves a family that comes to live in a small, rural town to help their father heal from his war experiences (I'm assuming PTSD would be an appropriate term, though it wasn't used in these days). I 3.5 stars This was a good read for March, because it starts and ends with maple sugaring season, which is something that used to be a huge part of my life in March, so I appreciate that aspect, as well as the general curiosity and observation of other forms of nature throughout the seasons. This story involves a family that comes to live in a small, rural town to help their father heal from his war experiences (I'm assuming PTSD would be an appropriate term, though it wasn't used in these days). It focuses on the daughter, Marly, and her adjustments and explorations in the new environment. In general I liked the story, though it seems that the focus of their move (Marly's father) was more of a peripheral story -- we're told he was having trouble adjusting to life back at home after the war, but the story begins as the family is moving in order to help him, so while we are shown some of his "improvements" as he lives a more rugged/rural lifestyle, we never really got to "see" what he was like before -- it's simply "told" to us, and so I felt there wasn't really a clear and believable "before and after" view of him.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This was a wonderful book to read. I was reminded of my own childhood full of family and friends, helping each other, day in and day out whenever we needed each other. Days of family meals and holidays, sharing in the work and the play. It also reminded me of the books I read as a child with heartwarming tales of close family relationships.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Henry Martin

    It is not often that I review children's books, but this one definitely deserves the attention. Written in a simple, yet eloquent prose, this is a heartwarming story of overcoming life's challenges, of bonding, of staying together, and of the power of nature to heal the human heart. Sorensen wrote a timeless novel aimed at middle grade children, yet this story is much more and will be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. What a refreshing read. Through her writing, Sorenses made me long fo It is not often that I review children's books, but this one definitely deserves the attention. Written in a simple, yet eloquent prose, this is a heartwarming story of overcoming life's challenges, of bonding, of staying together, and of the power of nature to heal the human heart. Sorensen wrote a timeless novel aimed at middle grade children, yet this story is much more and will be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. What a refreshing read. Through her writing, Sorenses made me long for the simpler days before technology ruled young lives the way it does today. The reader is not only taken on a journey with the main protagonist, Marly, and her family, but is afforded an educated look at the nature that surrounds them in their place of healing. Marly's father, a POW with a broken heart, her mother, her brother, and Marly herself decide to leave the city and spend the summer in a small community in rural Pennsylvania. Her mother, who used to visit her own grandma there, promises Marly miracles, and miracles truly do happen on Maple Hill. Except they are not the sort of superficial miracles one associates with religion; they are the everyday miracles only nature can produce - the only miracles that can cure a broken heart and fill it with joy and peace once again. A highly inspirational story set in a simpler time when the little things had the power to make big differences. Reading this book reminded me how important timeless writing is. It reminded me that a novel like this one will be relevant fifty years from now, when all the technologically-centered books produced today for young readers will be long-irrelevant. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benji Martin

    This one was really good. The 1950's Newbery winners, for the most part, have been terrific books. This one is about a family who moves to Maple Hill, a "sugar camp" in New England in an attempt to help their father, who was a prisoner of war in World War II get over his PTSD. While they are there, the children fall in love with their surroundings and discover many miracles in nature and in their relationships with their neighbors. I loved the characters and the setting. The writing is beautiful, This one was really good. The 1950's Newbery winners, for the most part, have been terrific books. This one is about a family who moves to Maple Hill, a "sugar camp" in New England in an attempt to help their father, who was a prisoner of war in World War II get over his PTSD. While they are there, the children fall in love with their surroundings and discover many miracles in nature and in their relationships with their neighbors. I loved the characters and the setting. The writing is beautiful, as are the illustrations. I think the novel could have gone from being really good to great if it would have focused a little bit less on the nature of Maple Hill (Not that it was bad. There was just a LOT of it) and more on the dad's struggles with his war memories. There was much more story there, that I felt like was left unexplored. On the whole, though, it was a solid book, and probably my favorite Newbery Winner up until this point, chronologically.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Davis Smith

    One of the more snooze-worthy entries in the Newbery canon. It's a VERY old-fashioned story; so old-fashioned in fact that I couldn't help but hear the character's voices in crackled Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island tones. It's just that slow-moving and just that old-fashioned. The details of nature on the hill were nice, but got flowery and sappy at times (both of those adjectives correspond to two very important nouns used throughout the book). The resounding premise is "don't let anything dra One of the more snooze-worthy entries in the Newbery canon. It's a VERY old-fashioned story; so old-fashioned in fact that I couldn't help but hear the character's voices in crackled Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island tones. It's just that slow-moving and just that old-fashioned. The details of nature on the hill were nice, but got flowery and sappy at times (both of those adjectives correspond to two very important nouns used throughout the book). The resounding premise is "don't let anything drag you down because you're a girl". I sure don't think that this book was the cause of more equal female rights in modern times. Leave that to Susan B. Anthony.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyrie

    I almost feel guilty for NOT liking this book. I know so many people who think it's charming. I found the main character to be whiny, was astounded to learn towards the end of the book that she was closer to being a teen than a preschooler , and I wondered why people liked her. The bits about how to make maple syrup were interesting, and had the book been about that and not Marly, I might have liked it more. I almost feel guilty for NOT liking this book. I know so many people who think it's charming. I found the main character to be whiny, was astounded to learn towards the end of the book that she was closer to being a teen than a preschooler , and I wondered why people liked her. The bits about how to make maple syrup were interesting, and had the book been about that and not Marly, I might have liked it more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    Insomnia read. When a young girl's family moves to the peace and quiet of rural Vermont, her haunted veteran father begins to find peace and the whole family learns to make maple syrup. Dated gender roles for the girl and her brother but young animal-lovers will sympathize with the warm-hearted heroine's love of all creatures great and small. There is something refreshing and soothing about this story. Insomnia read. When a young girl's family moves to the peace and quiet of rural Vermont, her haunted veteran father begins to find peace and the whole family learns to make maple syrup. Dated gender roles for the girl and her brother but young animal-lovers will sympathize with the warm-hearted heroine's love of all creatures great and small. There is something refreshing and soothing about this story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I read this book my freshmen year of high school and failed the test on it. Why did I, a scholarly student, fail a multiple choice test over a book I had read? Because I thought this book was boring. I had no business reading this book, but our school library was embarrassingly small, and I had not yet learned that it was okay to abandon a bad book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This was a bore. I kept waiting for something to happen, and very near to the end when it seemed like something would, it didn't! Also, the book synopsis focuses on how Marly's family is moving to Maple Hill to help her dad heal from the effects of the war, but SPOILER, he's healed after a week and the book still has 200 pages to go. This was a bore. I kept waiting for something to happen, and very near to the end when it seemed like something would, it didn't! Also, the book synopsis focuses on how Marly's family is moving to Maple Hill to help her dad heal from the effects of the war, but SPOILER, he's healed after a week and the book still has 200 pages to go.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather Knutson

    Horrifically boring. The dialogue and descriptives meander in a constant droning, boring, and monotone redundancy. Ugh! Clumsy sentence structure. My daughter has to read this for her fifth grade class. Her gripes of this books misery have not fallen on my deaf ears. I recommend picking one or two sentences off every page to read.... The rest are extraneous.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This book glows with nostalgia of the forties and fifties. It makes me think of White Chistmas, and Vermont, and hot chocolate, and red schoolhouses, and cozy fireplaces. This Newberry winner is a sweet, escapist read that children will enjoy for generations.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Meadows

    Newbery Winner 1957 Overall a rather pleasant story except for the treatment of animals in a couple of places. I know that it's indicative of the times, but honestly I detest when adults from that age say that children "need to learn." What? How to be cruel, or just that the world is cruel. I suppose the later must be acknowledged, but I'm so glad that the former isn't nearly as acceptable as it used to be. Growing up on a farm in the 70s, of course I had plenty of "learning" opportunities and ma Newbery Winner 1957 Overall a rather pleasant story except for the treatment of animals in a couple of places. I know that it's indicative of the times, but honestly I detest when adults from that age say that children "need to learn." What? How to be cruel, or just that the world is cruel. I suppose the later must be acknowledged, but I'm so glad that the former isn't nearly as acceptable as it used to be. Growing up on a farm in the 70s, of course I had plenty of "learning" opportunities and maybe that is why it's a sore subject for me. Learning about the process of making syrup was interesting. There were also some really good parts about learning to accept people who are different.

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