May B.

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May B.
Age Range
8+
Release Date
January 10, 2012
ISBN
978-1582463933
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I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return. 
Something's happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

The Lonesome Prairie
(Updated: February 17, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Like Caroline Starr Rose, I too was an avid fan of all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I admired Laura's wildness, but I also admired the serene order imposed on her life -- and on frontier life -- by her mother. No matter what, the floor was swept, the table clean, the pantry orderly and the children safe, their clothes pressed and their ribbons tied.

May B., like Laura, is a pioneer girl, living with her family on the Kansas prairie, and like the Ingalls, May's family and life are ordered and content. Her father farms, her mother keeps house, and May and her brother do their chores and go to school. May does have one concern -- she struggles to learn to read (and it's clear that she likely has dyslexia, but that's our modern understanding) and she's worried that her dream of being a teacher will therefore never come to pass.

Her worries are about to multiply, however. When this lovely verse novel opens, May is being sent away, to be the hired girl at a house thirty miles from home. The family needs the money, and this is how she can help. May is miserable, but determined, and even takes her school books so she can continue to learn even though she can't go to school.

The household she enters though, is far from happy. The wife, an Easterner, is miserable in Kansas, living in a soddy (a sod house) that leaks when it rains, which has snakes nesting in the roof and mud for a floor. When the woman suddenly flees, and her husband goes after her, May is left alone. As the days pass and no one returns, May realizes she is going to be on her own for a long time. With no way to get home, and with no neighbor nearer than twenty miles, she is completely isolated. And the wolves are howling at the door.

How May faces her troubles, and how she comes to accept her limitations, as well as live into her strengths, makes for inspiring reading. The quick, verse lines are sparse and as strong as pioneers homesteading on that grassland, and each word, each line sends the story hurtling forward at a breath-holding pace. The author makes May's world come alive, details woven into the narrative so easily and naturally that a reader sinks completely into this bygone age, and lives it along with a heroine who is as strong and admirable as Laura Ingalls herself.
Good Points
Evocative of its time
Detailed
Easy to read
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