Popcorn Days and Buttermilk Nights

by Paulsen, Gary. (Lodestar, 1983 ISBN 0-525-66770-9) Novel. 100 pages. Grades 4+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


This book, one of Paulsen's earlier ones is brief but very sweet. The narrator is a troubled boy who has been sent to stay with his uncle as an alternative to reform school. When he arrives in the small town, there is no one to greet him. He wanders over to the blacksmith shop where the smith, in the accent of many of the Scandinavians living in that part of the world, acknowledges his presence and goes on working. The blacksmith turns out to be his uncle and, treating the boy with his own quiet dignity, he takes the him home to share his household. Most of the people pay the blacksmith fees with produce so there is always ample to eat but little cash. The boy finds his anger disappearing as he becomes part of the rhythm of the farm and the blacksmith shop run by Uncle David. When harvest season is in full swing, the line of broken tools and equipment to be fixed seems endless and David and the boy sleep in the shop for a few hours at a time before pitching in to work again. At last the busy time is over and they're headed for a well earned rest, but a circus that David can't afford to bring his children to changes everything.


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