Critiques

Review Excerpts:

Publishers Weekly, September 8, 1997
"Lyrical writing and an original premise spin this novel of friendship to a funky rural stratosphere all its own . . . Treading the edge of fantasy, the novel (a hybrid with elements of Hansel and Gretel and The Wizard of Oz) . . . never strays from its overall theme of the amazing grace of finding a friend who understands you. Heynen has a consistent and clever ear for dialogue . . . a challenging and ultimately satisfying read."

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1997 *Pointer Review
"The writing is funny, with a folksy dialogue through which the voices of the characters emerge, and it's all slightly off-kilter, with the skewed realism of The Beans of Egypt, Maine, but for a younger audience . . . A perceptive novel about companionship that both pinches the funnybone and plucks a few heaartstrings without missing a beat."

Hungry Mind Review, Fall, 1997
"Heynen's books for adults pair his rural upbringing with the youngest child's wisdom. His writing is packed with laugh-out-loud stories about farm life and wry, clever insights into human nature . . . With a varied and interesting publishing history behind him, Heynen continues to explore the young adult mindset in ways that are meaningful and challenging to readers of all ages."

Booklist, October 15, 1997
"Heynen writes about childhood without nostalgia. He is totally true to the feelings of two Iowa farm kids, Henry and Gretchen, who become friends when they recognize their miserable bond of being the youngest siblings. . . the novel's high points are the scenes of animal birth and death, which are harsh, messy, lyrical, and transcendent."
Hazel Rochman

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday, November 2, 1997
"Some Writers create characters of such depth and authenticity that their stories seem magically real. At the end, the reader wishes she had read more slowly, prolonging the pleasure. Such a writer and book are Jim Heynen and his first novel for young people, Being Youngest. . . this novel is one of those rarities that adults may enjoy as well as children will."

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday, November 30, 1997, "Holiday Books" section:
"This warm, funny novel is the most delicious children's fiction I've read this year."
Jane Resh Thomas

The Horn Book, January, 1998
"This comically skewed novel about the excruciating indignities suffered by being the youngest child in the family will surely cause those who are living through the experience, as well as those who are glad to have survived it, to wince in recognition . . . Heynen's depictions of the rural setting and characters are perfectly cast, right down to the well-thumbed Bible on the kitchen table."



-- jh