Focus on the Family

Miracles on Maple Hill

A book review for parents

This historical book by Virginia Sorensen is published by Odyssey, Harcourt Young Classics, Harcourt Inc. and is written for kids ages 8 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Marly's dad is back from the war — but his experiences as a prisoner of war changed him. Hoping to restore her husband's zest for life, Marly's mom brings the family to her grandmother's house on quiet, rustic Maple Hill. The neighbors, Mr. Chris and his wife, Chrissie, welcome Marly's family and show them the essentials of their syrup-making business. Mr. Chris also teaches Marly and her brother, Joe, about animals, plants and the transformations in nature. As Marly witnesses the changing seasons, neighbors working together and her father's spirit healing, she becomes convinced that miracles do happen on Maple Hill.

Christian Beliefs

Mr. Chris says he would swear on a Bible that the syrup Marly helped harvest during his illness tastes exactly like his.

Authority Roles

Marly's parents come to Maple Hill for a fresh start. Initially, her father is tense and cranky, and her mother walks on eggshells around him. After a short time in their new home, her father rediscovers a sense of joy in life by singing, working the land, etc., and her mother is able to relax. Mr. and Mrs. Chris, neighbors who knew her mother as a girl, prepare meals, offer assistance when needed and invite Marly's family to learn about their interesting vocation. Mr. Chris explains nature to the kids on a regular basis. Miss Annie Nelson, the truant officer, comes looking for the children to punish them. When she sees the way they're helping with Mr. Chris's crop, Miss Nelson enlists other children in town to assist as well.

Other Belief Systems

Mr. Chris tells Marly that witches supposedly used the blood from a particular root to kill people.

Profanity/Graphic Violence





Newbery Award Winner, 1957

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.