Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose

May B. would love to be a school teacher some day, but school isn't easy for her.  Reading is her biggest challenge.  If the time was 2012 instead of the pioneer days on the Kansas prairie, her teacher would recognize she has a reading disability and probably suggest a remediation program to address the problem and help May.  Unfortunately, her teacher announces that May is just not able to learn, embarrassing May and dashing her dreams.

Even though reading is difficult, May carefully packs her school materials as she prepares to leave home.  Her family's failed wheat crop has resulted in her father's decision to send May to a neighboring homestead fifteen miles away to help the Oblingers.  Her responsibilities include cooking, cleaning, and helping Mrs. Oblinger who is barely older than May herself to manage the household duties.  May isn't thrilled, but she knows the money she earns will help her family.

What May and her family don't plan on is that Mrs. Oblinger will hate homestead living causing her to run away.  Mr. Oblinger follows his wife hoping to bring her back, but neither return leaving May alone in the shabby sod house as winter sets in.  Will she survive?  Can she travel the fifteen miles home on her own in the middle of the Kansas winter?

Author Caroline Starr Rose paints a stark picture of May's prairie world.  Harsh conditions, back-breaking chores, and loneliness combine to make the pioneer life a nightmare for most.  MAY B. is written in verse and quickly pulls the reader into May's world.  Excellent for anyone with an interest in historical fiction or simply in search of a good story.

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