Sally’s Rating: 2/5
Carolyn Bailey’s Miss Hickory details the rise and fall of Miss Hickory – an opinionated doll whose body is made of twigs and a hickory nut.
Miss Hickory, herself, is a selfish and hard-headed protagonist. She insults the other animals and has a high opinion of herself. She finds herself displaced a lot throughout the book, resulting in her sharing a tree with the forgetful Squirrel, a character who literally loses his nuts. As a result, Miss Hickory must fend off his advances as he always seems to be imagining how good her hickory nut would taste. The cast of characters is filled with some other colorful animals as well, such as the groundhog who is afraid of his shadow, the fawn who loses (and then finds) his mother in a Bambi-like scenario, and a crow who is the local gossip.
With so many characters, the plot meanders and is never very cohesive. There is no true overall story arc. Some of the individual chapters could be their own short stories – that’s how disjointed this book felt. With a bare semblance of the plot, the reader must wait until the very end of the book to get a shocking plot twist.
Regardless of its flaws, this story had one of the best ending scenarios ever. The forgetful squirrel takes his revenge in the best, most humorous way possible. Forced to listen to her insulting remarks, he decides he can’t stand her anymore and eats her hickory nut head. I was really surprised (and happy) with this ending because I thought the author would not go there. And I loved it!
Miss Hickory was a bizarre, yet oddly satisfying read. While the tone of the book ends up being moralistic and seeks to impart a lesson, it was so ridiculous that I can’t help but somewhat like it just for the ending. Nevertheless, this book is not a masterpiece and should probably be skipped unless you really like allegorical children’s books about woodland animals.