Cover image for Dancing in Cadillac light
Title:
Dancing in Cadillac light
Author:
Holt, Kimberly Willis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam's, 2001.
Physical Description:
167 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
In 1968, eleven-year-old Jaynell's life in the town of Moon, Texas, is enlivened when her eccentric Grandpap comes to live with her family.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.1 6.0 45118.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.5 10 Quiz: 24764 Guided reading level: R.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780399234026
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Status
Central Library X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Set against a backdrop of a small town in Texas in 1968, Kimberly Willis Holt's fourth novel brims with quirky Southern characters and the wisdom and humor that are her trademarks. When Gandpap dies and leaves his house to the Pickens family, 11-year-old Janelle learns a secret that changes the way she will look at poverty forever.


Author Notes

Kimberly Willis Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida September 9, 1960, but spent most of her childhood in Forest Hill, Louisiana.

Kimberly is a children's writer, most famous for writing When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, which won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 1999.

She has also won, or been shortlisted, for a number of prestigious awards: Mister and Me, My Louisiana Sky, Dancing in Cadillac Light, Keeper of the Night, Waiting for Gregory, Part of Me, Skinny Brown Dog, Piper Reed Navy Brat, Piper Reed the Great Gypsy, and Piper Reed Gets a Job.

Kimberly lives in Amarillo, Texas.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. In Holt's National Book Award winner, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (1999), and in My Louisiana Sky (1998), both Booklist Editors' Choices, the southern small-town settings were an integral part of the story, and the particulars were spare and telling. Here the authentic local color about Moon, Texas, in 1968 sometimes takes over the story, and there are just too many town characters to visit. At 11, Jaynell is a tomboy (Daddy calls her "boy" ). Unlike her ultrafeminine sister, she loves to hunt, practice driving, and watch the preparations for the first trip to the moon. She watches over Grandpap as he visits his wife's grave, wanders around town, and buys a Cadillac for cash. Why does he help a "white-trash" family move into his old home? Jaynell's first-person narrative is strong and tender. It's her story and the discovery of a wounding family secret that keeps you reading. --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Constructed like a series of vignettes, this novel focuses on the relationship between a child and her widower grandfather, whom the family suspects is losing his grip on reality. In PW's words, the novel "captures a child's sense that time stretches endlessly before her." Ages 10-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-It is 1968 and Jaynell Lambert, an 11-year-old girl from Moon, Texas, gives readers a peek into her life. In this quiet, sleepy town, Kimberly Willis Holt (Putnam, 2001) focuses on the relationships between family members and their poor neighbors, the Pickens. It illuminates the love, prejudices, and loss that occur within such a small circle, showing the effects on the characters and how it enlarges their world. Actress Kimberly Brown's reading translates the text into a visceral experience of place with her slow-paced, distinctive southern drawl. She maintains a steady, rhythmic momentum, yet pronunciates clearly, so northerners will understand the dialogue. This young actress, primarily known for her Broadway and TV roles, does an admirable job with this medium, but her reading does not transcend the text. Listeners are always hearing the story, rather than experiencing it. There is no distinctive voice for each character, not even Jaynell's eccentric Grandpap. This keeps the characters rather one-dimensional and empathy from readers at a minimum. Her limited range of voices makes this highly descriptive narrative a bit tedious and dull. Compared to the previous translations of Holt's novels to audiobooksAMy Louisiana Sky (Listening Library, 1999) and When Zachary Came to Town (Listening Library, 2000)Athis one is a disappointment.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter one Driving My Troubles Away Grandpap came to live with us the day after the highway men arrived to blacktop our road. It was July--hot as cinders. Uncle Floyd called July "Wet Dog Days" because all month long the air smelled like a stinky mutt caught in the rain. But that day not even the heat could keep me cooped up inside like a setting hen. I wasn't about to miss the excitement. We lived on one of the last dirt roads in Moon, Texas. The only blacktop roads in Moon stretched in front of the rich folks' homes, leaving us to live with the dust and potholes. All my life I'd heard Daddy say, "Those Dyers always thought they were better than us 'cause they lived on a blacktop road." The Dyers got everything first in Moon--a color TV, a private phone line, a brand-new Cadillac. I thought the gravel truck making its way down Cypress Road would transform our lives into something grand. Before Momma ordered me to do the breakfast dishes with my sister, Racine, I escaped next door and hopped inside one of Mr. Bailey's cars to wait for the gravel truck. Clifton Bailey's Automobile Salvage and Parts was the most amazing place in Moon. Junk cars were parked in his yard, and piles of rusty parts and patched tires were scattered about like lost treasure. Two years ago I took to sneaking over to Clifton Bailey's and slipping into one of his junkers. The whole while, I tried to keep a lookout for Mr. Bailey, but one day he caught me red-handed. He narrowed his crossed eyes and frowned while I sat there with my hands stuck to the steering wheel. Finally he laughed. "Jaynell, anytime you take a notion, you just pick out a car and drive your heart away."And I did. I drove everywhere, covering miles and miles, even though none of the cars actually ran. Usually I drove when I felt so full I couldn't hold my feelings inside me without popping a vein. Like when Racine made me mad enough to commit bloody murder, or when Grandma died and I was determined not to shed one tear, or when the newsman talked about how one day soon a man would walk on the moon. Just the thought of that made me feel like I could bust. Leaning back against the seat, eyes closed, chin up, hands wrapped around the steering wheel, I moved beyond the dirt roads, away from Moon, into Marshall to rescue Grandpap from Aunt Loveda's. We'd head down to Highway 80, which stretched across Texas, and we'd be riding in a big fancy car, the kind that made people sit up and take notice, like the Dyers' Cadillac. After our trip, we'd return to Grandpap's homeplace. I hadn't been to the homeplace since Grandma died, and I missed it something fierce. The homeplace was just a little house on two tiny acres, but I loved everything inside and out. The tree house in the tall oak tree that I used to pretend was a rocket, the corner bookshelf in the living room with Grandpap's Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey westerns, the smell of coffee brewing on the stove and Hungry Jack biscuits baking in the oven.Grandma always joked, "Ain't no use making them from scratch when they're twice as good coming from a can." She'd serve them with real butter and a spoon of Blackburn's strawberry preserves. Sometimes when she was in a homemade baking mood, she'd make M&M brownies. Last month after Grandma died, Grandpap sat around his house in his underwear and wouldn't eat. He didn't speak to anybody, not even me. That's when Aunt Loveda and Uncle Floyd took Grandpap from his homeplace on the outskirts of Moon to live with them in their brand-new four-bedroom ranch house in Marshall. Aunt Loveda said her brick home had a lot of room to move around in, which was a good thing because every one of those Thigpens was round, round, round. Especially cousins Sweet Adeline and Little Floyd, who was only named that on account of his daddy, Big Floyd. I felt like they had yanked Grandpap from my world. I was Grandpap's favorite. He called me Raccoon Gal because when I was little I wore a Daniel Boone hat with a raccoon's tail.Before Grandma died, me and Grandpap spent a lot of time together. He took me fishing with him in his canoe, Little Mamma Jamma, and showed me all the spots on Caddo Lake. I knew where to find Devil's Elbow, Old Folks Playground and Hamburger Point. Me and Grandpap had spied on alligators, watched turtles sunbathe and found our way back by studying the way moss grew on the cypress trees.Just as I pressed the accelerator to the floor, I heard Momma holler, "Jaynell, get in this house and help Racine with the dishes!"How would I ever see the world with a sink of sudsy water always waiting for me? Excerpted from Dancing in Cadillac Light by Kimberly Willis Holt All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Driving My Troubles Away
Grandpap came to live with us the day after the highway men arrived to blacktop our road. It was July-hot as cinders. Uncle Floyd called July "Wet Dog Days" because all month long the air smelled like a stinky mutt caught in the rain. But that day not even the heat could keep me cooped up inside like a setting hen. I wasn't about to miss the excitement. We lived on one of the last dirt roads in Moon, Texas. The only blacktop roads in Moon stretched in front of the rich folks' homes, leaving us to live with the dust and potholes
All my life I'd heard Daddy say, "Those Dyers always thought they were better than us 'cause they lived on a blacktop road." The Dyers got everything first in Moon-a color TV, a private phone line, a brand-new Cadillac. I thought the gravel truck making its way down Cypress Road would transform our lives into something grand
Before Momma ordered me to do the breakfast dishes with my sister, Racine, I escaped next door and hopped inside one of Mr. Bailey's cars to wait for the gravel truck. Clifton Bailey's Automobile Salvage and Parts was the most amazing place in Moon. Junk cars were parked in his yard, and piles of rusty parts and patched tires were scattered about like lost treasure
Two years ago I took to sneaking over to Clifton Bailey's and slipping into one of his junkers. The whole while, I tried to keep a lookout for Mr. Bailey, but one day he caught me red-handed. He narrowed his crossed eyes and frowned while I sat there with my hands stuck to the steering wheel
Finally he laughed. "Jaynell, anytime you take a notion, you just pick out a car and drive your heart away." And I did. I drove everywhere, covering miles and miles, even though none of the cars actually ran. Usually I drove when I felt so full I couldn't hold my feelings inside me without popping a vein. Like when Racine made me mad enough to commit bloody murder, or when Grandma died and I was determined not to shed one tear, or when the newsman talked about how one day soon a man would walk on the moon. Just the thought of that made me feel like I could bust
Leaning back against the seat, eyes closed, chin up, hands wrapped around the steering wheel, I moved beyond the dirt roads, away from Moon, into Marshall to rescue Grandpap from Aunt Loveda's. We'd head down to Highway 80, which stretched across Texas, and we'd be riding in a big fancy car, the kind that made people sit up and take notice, like the Dyers' Cadillac. After our trip, we'd return to Grandpap's homeplace
I hadn't been to the homeplace since Grandma died, and I missed it something fierce. The homeplace was just a little house on two tiny acres, but I loved everything inside and out. The tree house in the tall oak tree that I used to pretend was a rocket, the corner bookshelf in the living room with Grandpap's Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey westerns, the smell of coffee brewing on the stove and Hungry Jack biscuits baking in the oven. Grandma always joked, "Ain't no use making them from scratch when they're twice as good coming from a can." She'd serve them with real butter and a spoon of Blackburn's strawberry preserves. Sometimes when she was in a homemade baking mood, she'd make M&M brownies
Last month after Grandma died, Grandpap sat around his house in his underwear and wouldn't eat. He didn't speak to anybody, not even me. That's when Aunt Loveda and Uncle Floyd took Grandpap from his homeplace on the outskirts of Moon to live with them in their brand-new four-bedroom ranch house in Marshall. Aunt Loveda said her brick home had a lot of room to move around in, which was a good thing because every one of those Thigpens was round, round, round. Especially cousins Sweet Adeline and Little Floyd, who was only named that on account of his daddy, Big Floyd
I felt like they had yanked Grandpap from my world. I was Grandpap's favorite. He called me Raccoon Gal because when I was little I wore a Daniel Boone hat with a raccoon's tail. Before Grandma died, me and Grandpap spent a lot of time together. He took me fishing with him in his canoe, Little Mamma Jamma, and showed me all the spots on Caddo Lake. I knew where to find Devil's Elbow, Old Folks Playground and Hamburger Point. Me and Grandpap had spied on alligators, watched turtles sunbathe and found our way back by studying the way moss grew on the cypress trees. Just as I pressed the accelerator to the floor, I heard Momma holler, "Jaynell, get in this house and help Racine with the dishes!" How would I ever see the world with a sink of sudsy water always waiting for me?

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