This book tells a sad tale of "progress and civilization" overtaking a peaceful rural town.
The town originally began when two widows started selling plots of their vast land a half acre or so at a time, when they became unable to tend the fields themselves. The ladies "sold them cheap." Slowly but surely, the town grew bit by bit, with kindly rural folk moving in. Eventually, a smell rural town developed.
The people, most with little education, lived simply, and tended to strew their property about their yards: old iceboxes, wheel-less cars, assorted broken down farm vehicles. Soon the surrounding folks began to heckle the place. Still, the people of Shaker Lane were good, honest, decent folk. Multi-generation families lived there. They helped out anyone who needed it, and looked after one another. Everybody knew everybody. It was a peaceful place to live.
Inevitably, the Powers That Be decide to build a dam on the nearby pond, which will flood Shaker Lane. The people will have to move. One by one, they go. Sadly.
Once the dam is built, and the lands adapt, the new building begins. Concrete, stucco, and asphalt in place of wood and metal. Brand new modern homes, with manicured yards, backyard patios, basketball courts, and built-in swimming pools. "Single family homes" without the grandparents, cousins, uncles, etc the previous residents had. Lots of loud, new, fancy automobiles. Progress.
What had been an idyllic, peaceful town full of kindly neighbors who helped one other is now a "modern" semi-suburb lived in by an entirely different sort of people. The old (and elderly) residents have given way to the young. Seeing it now, "You wouldn't know the place," we are told.
A well-told story, not for younger children, even though it looks like a children's picture book. The story is quite sad, poignant because of the harsh reality of these situations, as they have been happening as "suburbs" creep farther out and out. Progress.
The illustrations are beautifully rendered in a soft way. The book is hard to classify, although recommended.