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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Laura Kay lives on a farm with three older brothers. Her father is away a lot, working on different job sites, while her mother does most of the work on the farm. There aren’t any little girls living nearby, so Laura Kay feels very much alone. It doesn’t help that her older brothers like to tease her – a lot. So, Laura Kay has a special place, a secret hideaway in the haymow, the upper level of the barn where the hay is stored. She has a special doll and an imaginary friend and she can share her stories and her sadness without fear of reprisal or teasing. At six, she starts school. She’s scared and ends up in tears during the first recess. The teacher takes care of the situation, finding Laura Kay another little girl, Elizabeth, who feels the same as she does. Curled in the corner of the cloakroom, the two girls are no longer crying, but rather starting a friendship that will last them a lifetime.
Lona Root Haskins’ children’s story, The Girl who Lived in the Haymow, is a real charmer. The reader wants to reach out to little Laura Kay and make her loneliness disappear. The characters of the family are well developed and the situations, including the sibling teasing, are so realistic. The setting, complete with the barn, the haymow, the gardens, and the animals, is described with passion and understanding. The plot progresses at a steady pace, allowing the reader to settle into Laura Kay’s home life and her feelings. This is a story about friendship, but also a story about dealing with shyness and loneliness.