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Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different Hardcover – October 14, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–7—Eleven-year-old Autumn wants nothing more than to leave Cades Cove for the greater excitement of Knoxville, but she doesn't want to see it destroyed in the making of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Government workers have assured her enthusiastic grandfather that their town will be outside the boundaries, and will prosper from the tourist trade. But Autumn learns from the CCC workers that this is not true and she watches them tear down her childhood home. She has to get Gramps to change his mind. Setting her story in eastern Tennessee in 1934, Tubb ably conveys the beauty of the park area as well as less-attractive aspects of its history. Besides being a "sneak and a schemer" in Autumn's eyes, Gramps is a lively storyteller, and bits of Appalachian folklore are smoothly woven into the narrative. He is really the focus of the novel, the character who changes and whose efforts preserve at least a portion of the family's world. In spite of her folksy first-person voice, Autumn doesn't really come alive to lift the story beyond its historical and geographical interest.—Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In1934, spunky 11-year-old Autumn Winifred Oliver lives in picaresque Cades Cove, deep in the Great Smoky Mountains. Her crusty Grandpa is involved in a federal plan to convert the surrounding land into a national park, which would allow the locals to cash in on the anticipated tourism. But after Autumn realizes that the government is actually plotting to level Cades Cove, she tries everything in her power to stop the destruction. She writes a letter to Mr. John D. Rockefeller, requesting that he withdraw his funding, and she even turns her flatulent bloodhound loose on a group of park builders. While the eventual compromise is not entirely pleasing to either side, Autumn is satisfied that she did her best to keep her precious holler “as durn near perfect as possible.” Tubb’s inventive heroine comes across as a female version of familiar characters, such as Gary Paulsen’s Harris or Robert Newton Peck’s Soup. This homespun tale, full of folksy humor and based on historical fact, will appeal to young fans of Deborah Wiles’ and Ruth White’s books. Grades 4-6. --Jennifer Hubert

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735698
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,033,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am basically a big dork who would still be going to school if they'd let me. (But they won't, cause that'd just be weird.) So instead I write historical fiction! All of the research, none of the tests - I've got the best job in the world, doncha think?

SELLING HOPE was given a starred review by Booklist, who said it was "a bouncy tale populated by a terrific cast of characters!" And AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT has been nominated for the Volunteer State Book Award (2011-2012 list) and was chosen to represent the State of Tennessee in the Pavilion of States at the 2009 National Book Festival. I'm delighted to have AUTUMN serve as Tennessee's ambassador!

I love hearing from readers! Please contact me through my website: You're also invited to swing by my blog:

Do things different!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on July 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Autumn Winifred Oliver lives "in a small speck of a town" in the Smoky Mountains, back when church bells tolled to tell you someone died, rather than an IM pinging on a Blackberry. This book is a lot of fun if you are a fan of Richard Peck, Sterling North, Deborah Wiles and Francis O'Roark Dowell. Autumn is a spunky, spirited youngster with a strong will and a loving family, doing her chores, making friends, learning to roller skate and generally growing up in a quieter and less hectic time.
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Format: Hardcover
Autumn Winifred Oliver has a lot going on for an 11-year-old living in the tiny, mountain settlement of Cades Cove, Tennessee. She's waiting to move with her mom and big sister Katie to Knoxville, where her dad already lives and works. She'll miss the beautiful mountains she lives in, but in the 1930s the "big city" offers the allure of indoor plumbing, movie theaters and automobiles, all nearly non-existent in her neck of the woods. Everybody says she does things different, and she keeps reminding herself of that as she gets herself in and out of several pickles.

First, she hears the church bells toll her reputed death--they always toll the number of years for the recently departed, and she's the only one around who is 11 when she hears them ring. Then she finds out her grandpa almost died, and her mom has decided Knoxville can wait while she moves into his cabin in the woods to help care for him.

There's also more activity than usual in Cades Cove, a settlement that's totally cut off from the outside world each winter when the only road in gets covered in snow. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is being created right on the edge of town, and everyone is abuzz about raking in money from tourists. But Autumn Winifred Oliver suspects that everything is not as it seems with the park, and she won't rest until she finds out the real story.

Autumn is a delightful character with a down to earth voice, and through her eyes we see the beauty of the mountains, streams and countryside around her home. She is placed within the real story of Cades Cove, Tennessee, and the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You'll be charmed by the folk tales, old-time remedies and superstitions woven seamlessly by author Kristin O'Donnell Tubb throughout the story.
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Format: Hardcover
Most folks wouldn't shove sticks in the beaks of geese to keep them from eating in their gardens, but Autumn Winifred Oliver does things different. In a mountain town so tiny it only has one road leading in and out, different is something folks in Autumn's parts don't always cotton to. But sometimes it takes a special kind of thinking to make things change, which is the one thing Autumn craves more than anything. Change.

Autumn seems to have a lot in common with Gramps, who's determined to convince the thirty families in Cades Cove to sign papers that will allow a new national park to border their little town. Convinced that there's more to Gramps' idea than just collecting money from passing tourists, Autumn sets out to find the truth, only to find much more than she'd bargained for, including more approaching change than she could have imagined.

With a setting that jumps to life, debut author Kristin O'Donnell Tubb tells the story of Cades Cove through strong character voices intertwined with glorious description:

"The trees had turned into a showy blaze of orange and red and yellow bursts - miniature suns, each one. Those durn trees! They put on this spectacle every year, and I swannee they get better at it with practice."

Historical fiction can sometimes be off-putting to middle grade readers, but the author handles this one so deftly, it's not immediately obvious the book is set during the Great Depression. By the time the subject comes up, Autumn has hooked the audience and is off and running.

Adventures and folktales carry us through Autumn's story as she and her neighbors come to terms with the fact that Cades Cove is about to change forever, one way or another.
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Format: Hardcover
What different things does Autumn Winifred Oliver do? She uses sticks to prop open each beak of a gaggle of geese that threaten to eat her grandpa's garden. She rides an empty pine coffin down a flooded creek. She uses an "overweight, flatulent mutt in the Lord's house" to teach a lesson to some high-high-falutin outsiders who have made themselves unwelcome in her homespun community of mountainous east Tennessee.
And she does it all with humor and style.
Autumn is the story of a girl trying to save her home, and to understand what home really means. In this Depression-era adventure set in the Great Smoky Mountains, she struggles to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in a moral landscape that seems constantly in flux.
Kristin O'Donnell Tubb has crafted a sweet, sad and funny look at changes faced by many when progress and tradition collide. Her story is a page-turner; her "Autumn" is unforgettable.
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Format: Hardcover
Normally, I don't read that much middle grade books, but I made an exception and I'm very glad I did. Autumn is a very awesome character and hilariously creative. Not only is she down to earth, she's spunky and surpriingly relatable even though she's from a different time period.
Though a little bit slow in some parts, it made up for it by having a wide range of characters varying from the most interesting personalities. Autumn is not the only character that grabs your attention, Autumn's grouchy but awesome grandfather makes me wish he was a part of my family and so many others that are special in their own way.

Packed with southern charm and originality, Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different earns a solid 4 stars. It's one-of-a-kind story will make it memorable for a very, very long time.
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