Bethany House Publishers, 1996
I stumbled upon The Penny Whistle by B. J. Hoff while browsing the shelves of my local public library. The title caught my attention and the brief description included on the dust-jacket flap interested me, so I brought it home.
Set in the coal mining town of Skingle Creek, KY in the mid 1890s, The Penny Whistle is the story of how a kindly teacher and two of his beloved students impact the people of their town for the good and together bring about a miracle.
The Penny Whistle is the type of book that you find adapted to the screen for The Hallmark Channel. It's a Christian-faith empowering story, a feel-good story of love, faith, and hope, and a tear-jerker of a novel. Because it is told through third-person narration and character dialog there is little action and flowery description, but it still manages to make for a quick, easy, and fairly enjoyable read (I finished it in one evening). It is the type of book that works well for both young and old readers alike.
Overall, I did like The Penny Whistle, even if it isn't from my typical genre. I found the story believable and refreshing in a wholesome way. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent, I would rate The Penny Whistle a 3.5 to a 4. It's no classic; it's not even great literature, but it is a sweet story with a great message.
Note: For those interested B. J. Hoff has her own website where you can learn more about her books and read her personal blog.