Wish Upon a Crawdad

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Pub Date 03 May 2022 | Archive Date 31 May 2022
Heart of Oak Books, Heart of Oak Books for Young Readers


Middle-grade readers will love Wish Upon a Crawdad's colorful characters, nonstop action, laughter, and tears, with just a hint of romance for good measure.

The story takes place at the end of the Great Depression, during the early years of the electrification of rural America. It is told through the eyes of Ruby Mae Ryan, who has never had electricity a day in her life. But that’s about to change.

Ruby isn't your typical depression-era twelve-year-old. For one thing, she’s got a jar full of coins, thanks to her crawdad business and other odd jobs. But she doesn’t let the money go to her head. She’s too busy trying to make more. That’s because she’s got something special in mind, and time is running out. So, Ruby calls on crawdads for help.

A lot of people wish on the first star at night. Ruby does that, too, but she also wishes on the first crawdad of the day. She figures the odds are better. “Not many folks wish upon a crawdad,” Ruby says. To convince doubters of their magic, Ruby points to the new electric cooperative and the coming of electricity. She credits those two things to wishing on crawdads.

Ruby wants her latest wish so badly she won’t even say what it is out loud, afraid that might jinx the wish. Instead, Ruby calls it her “secret surprise.” The only other people who know about it are Daddy and her best friend, Virginia. And they’ll never tell. Or will they?

Wish Upon a Crawdad is all about friendship and adversity, courage and fear, heartbreak and triumph, and the story has as many channels and curves as the creek running through it. Along the way, Ruby searches for a legendary place called Crawdad Haven, kisses a barnyard animal, “dances” with an angry dog, escapes death, and even has a chance encounter with a famous dignitary. Not bad for a spirited, crawdad-catching girl from farm country.

Historical note: The story unfolds during a pivotal time in America. The Great Depression is not yet a memory, and the country is only eighteen months from another world war. Ninety percent of villages and farms don’t have electricity. But that’s begun to change, thanks to rural residents banding together to form their own power companies called rural electric cooperatives. Such is the backdrop for the story, which takes place in 1940 in a valley near the fictional village of Crossroads. It’s a fitting name, given rural America—and the entire country—are at the brink of a new age.

Middle-grade readers will love Wish Upon a Crawdad's colorful characters, nonstop action, laughter, and tears, with just a hint of romance for good measure.

The story takes place at the end of the...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798985223415
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 12 members

Featured Reviews

A middle grade historical fiction this good!

The characters are so lively and there that it's just impossible to ignore any of them.

The story is simple and so accessible for everyone. I would say it's perfect for the beginners as well as for the middle grade/historical fiction lovers.

The writing just pulls the reader in once the story starts.

I love the family vibes so much. The main highlights would also be the sibling as well as the best friends vibes!

More of a character driven story, you will love this beautiful book for its ability to make you fall in love with the main character, Ruby. She reminds me so much of Heidi somehow.

I feel good reading the book as it presents younger characters just as they are and as not either good or bad. I love the parents, specially the dad. Just the right balance in the representation I feel.

The title is quite relevant as well.

Everything about this book made me feel things would turn out to be alright.

Such a feel-good story.

Thank you, Heart of Oak Books and the author, for the advance reading copy.

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