ALA Notable Book for Children
"Unsually worthwhile and appealing." -Kirkus Reviws
"Quite cleverly and realistically drawn." --Booklist
"A funny, sunny story that says a great deal about children's fears, about familial relationships, and about peer pressure." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Living in New York City gives me a particularly skewed view of the rest of the world. When you're a resident of the Big Apple you begin to take certain things for granted. Sure lesbian couples are treated with nary a raised eyebrow in the public space. Sure moms are usually employed in some fabulous job and everyone has a nanny. Sure there are tons of stay-at-home dads out there taking care of the kids. These assumptions aren't bad necessarily, but they can certainly wreak havoc when it comes to reading something like, "Nekomah Creek". As I paged through this high-spirited and loving little tale, I kept getting bothered by the central conceit. Our hero has a stay-at-home dad who's a great cook. This is a big deal in the story and our hero is embarrassed by this blow to conventional lifestyles. I kept getting angry that this was treated as such a bizarre idea. Sure the publication date was 1991, but even then dads who cook were nothing new. Then I took a step back from my Manhattan goggles. If you're living in rural Oregon with residents who can trace their generations back through the Oregon hills, you are definitely gonna run into nuclear families that shudder at anything so original as a dad that makes a mean salmon. Once I relaxed and accepted that this story remains as pertinent today as ever, I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride.
As a former resident of heaven-on-earth-God-I-miss-it-so-Portland, Oregon I was immediately drawn to the title's location. Robby is constantly being offered the chance to go to Powell's Bookstore in Portland as an ultimate reward. Any book that ends with a trip to that lovely place has my immediate approval. Other aspects of Oregon shine through the writing as well. The salmon. The timber. The weather. If you want to immerse your kids in Oregonian flavors, this would be a particularly good place to start.
By and large the book has aged exceedingly well. I like to think that it's more common now for dads to stay home and raise kids, but that probably depends on what part of the country you live in. There are some dated references in the book to Nintendo and Mr. Rogers but these are few and far between. "Nekomah Creek" is simply a nice little story with a bent that some daddies and Oregonians will incline towards. Pleasant and pleasing."
I think Ms. Bird would be tickled to learn how the real-life characters turned out. "Naughty Lucy" is married to a veterinarian she met at Smith College and now works full time at Powell's Books!
"Wholesome, easily read fare, funny and wonderfully true to life. Once again, the Hummers are winners." -Kirkus Reviews
"Entertaining holiday reading." -School Library Journal