Jennifer L. Holm Our Only May Amelia

ISBN 13: 9781439502693

Our Only May Amelia

 
9781439502693: Our Only May Amelia
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She may be a miracle, but she's no proper young lady!

It isn't easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899, but it's particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement. With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can't seem to abide her family's insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. Not when there's fishing to be done, sheep to be herded, and real live murderers to be captured! May is sure she could manage better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama's going to have a baby, maybe there's hope....

00-01 Utah Book Award (Gr. 3-6) and 00-01 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Bk Award Masterlist

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council, 2000 Newbery Honor Book, and 2000 Notable Children's Books (ALA)

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Review:

Twelve-year-old May Amelia is too busy chasing sheep, fishing for salmon, and keeping pace with the antics of her seven Finnish brothers to bother wearing a dress or scrubbing behind her ears. Unfortunately, she's being pressured to clean up her act. "It seems like everyone is conspiring to make me a Proper Young Lady," she observes in frustration. "I do not think being a proper Young Lady sounds like any fun at all."

The old-fashioned language in this historical novel seems strained at times, and the quirky use of capital letters is an unnecessary distraction, but this book is still a lot of fun. Why? For one thing, the story is set in the far, untamed reaches of the West at the turn of the 20th century, and offers encounters with Chinook Indians, dark forests, and the twists and turns of the Nasel River. And then there is May Amelia--as headstrong as rushing water, and the only female born on this stretch of the river since her family can remember. She is known (when she's not deep into trouble) as the Miracle. Will this feisty female ever settle down and become the little lady everyone expects her to be? Will her pregnant mother give birth to another girl so May Amelia can finally have a sister? You'll have to read the whole story to find out. (Ages 10 and older) --Maria Dolan

From the Back Cover:

It isn′t easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899, but it′s particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement. With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can′t seem to abide her family′s insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. She′s sure she could do better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama′s going to have a baby, maybe there′s hope.

Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, first-time novelist Jennifer Holm has given us a beautifully crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humour, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience.

∗Newbery Honour Book (USA), 2000

Ages 10+

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