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Katerina's Wish Hardcover – August 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442433434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442433434
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Katerina's father's dreams of a better life brought the family of five from Bohemia to America, but now, in the spring of 1901, instead of the prosperous farm he envisioned, they are in a coal-mining camp in southern Colorado, and his wages are barely enough to eke out a living. Katerina, 13, is a pragmatist like her mother, but when she sees a carp in the creek, she is reminded of the folktale her grandmother told her in which a fish granted an old couple three wishes. Their neighbor, Old Jan, retells the story that evening, and when her younger sisters make silly wishes, Katerina is amazed to see them come true. Not fully believing in the carp's magic, Katerina is still determined not to waste the final wish on something frivolous. She finds herself working harder and coming up with creative ways to add a few extra coins to the family's tobacco can. As the savings slowly grow, the idea of a farm does not seem so far-fetched. Complicating matters is Old Jan's son, who has begun courting Katerina, and she is drawn to him, but she cannot reconcile herself to a future in the mining camp. Even after a terrible accident leaves him injured and many of the miners dead, he is hesitant to venture away from the work he has known. Katerina comes to realize that although life is not a fairy tale with magic fish, believing and persevering can make dreams come true. Similar in subject matter to Susan Campbell Bartoletti's A Coal Miner's Bride (Scholastic, 2000), this is solid historical fiction with a touch of whimsy and romance.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1900, Katerina’s family left Bohemia for America in hopes of owning a farm. Instead, Papa works in a Colorado coal mine, while 13-year-old Katerina and her sisters help Mama mind the house and do laundry for other miners. Initially prone to daydreaming and wishing, Katerina decides to work hard and earn a path out of the mining camp for her family. When her plans backfire, all seems lost, but she and her family are as resilient as their friends are supportive. One of those friends is Mark, and throughout the story her attachment to him slowly grows, though his insistence on mining, despite a life-threatening accident, causes a rift. This vividly imagined first-person narrative features a number of distinct characters within an unusual historical setting. Neighbors within the camp are divided into national groups by suspicion and prejudice as well as cultural and language differences, an issue handled with sensitivity. From the search for chicken coop materials to the gathering of women waiting for news after a mining disaster, realistic details bring the story to life. The inclusion of European folktales within the narrative frames individual dilemmas within a broader context, and a note on the Colorado coal camps and the author’s research adds dimension to this multi-dimensional first novel. Grades 4-6. --Carolyn Phelan

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
I look forward to her next book.
Hazel
Highly recommend this book to those who enjoy good and well-written young adult fiction, with a bit of well placed history that does not overwhelm.
S. M. Smith
Jeanne Mobley's book Katerina's Wish, is whimsical, filled with characters a reader loves immediately.
EstherBradley-DeTally

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By lexmir on September 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book!I loved how it discussed immigration, the american dream, coal mining, and magic through the eyes and life of a young Bohemian girl. Jeannie Mobley seamlessly blends history, growing-up, and young love in this beautifully told story. I also loved how each "fairy tale" taught moral lessons that helped to guide Trina to find her dreams. I stumbled on this book when I desperately needed a reminder to believe in my own dream and I am so glad that I did.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heather M. on September 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Katerina's Wish is an excellent novel about a 13-year-old Bohemian girl and her family in the early 1900's. The plot takes off in break-neck pace, as we find Katerina - a fairly new immigrant to America - complaining and dissatisfied with the conditions of the coal mining community she calls home. She recalls a story from her childhood about a magic carp that grants three wishes, and she dreams of such a carp one night. When the wishes that were mentioned in her dream by her two younger sisters come true, Katerina begins to think that she could make her own wish. She wishes for a farm so that her father and the rest of her family could have a better life. Throughout the remainder of the book, we find Katerina is working hard to make this wish come true - although she doesn't really realize that's what she's doing.

Katerina's Wish is a wonderful chapter book appropriate for late elementary and middle school students. It is an easy read with a plot that will keep the reader in suspense. It has a magical, mystical storyline that will intrigue the younger audience, as well as a possible blooming romance that will appeal to the older middle school aged audience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on January 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Delightful book about 14 year old Katerina, oldest of three girls in a "Czechy" family that immigrated to Colorado in the early 1900s, hoping for a better way of life. Turns out her father works long hours at a dangerous job in the coal mines, and Trina and her mother (with some help from her younger sisters) take in washing in an unsuccessful attempt to make ends meet and maybe even get some money set aside to eventually buy land for a farm. Through folk tales and fables from their homeland, Trina sees how lessons about hard work and kindness might apply to her. She has a good head for business and isn't the least bit afraid of getting her hands dirty or looking a little silly if it means she might be closer to her dream. First-time author Mobley does a beautiful job of weaving the stories from the old country into Trina's life and I loved seeing how the various people in Trina community were woven into the story. Lots of humor, very positive message. Minor quibble: I was sorry to see the mother make "it will never work" comments so often, but in other parts she clearly had a good heart. Overall a wonderful book that I would buy or recommend to the 11-13 age group, and to older readers with an interest in the book's literary qualities, such as how the folk tales are interpreted and mirrored in events in the story.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: purchased for the library
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. M. Smith on February 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The saddest thing about this book is that it ended. I started out planning to 'savor' it and read it a little at a time. However, that did not happen. Once the action started, I just could not put it down. The characters drew me in and kept me interested. The story line was well done, showing that the author put much thought into development as well as obvious research on the project overall.

The hope is, there will be a sequel! The story starts off slowly (but don't confuse that with boredom!) as we get to know the characters involved. It did not take long to get drawn into the lives of those living in the mining town, the hardships they faced everyday, and the courage it took to get through. I loved the 'old stories' that were shared, how they wove themselves throughout the story and became lessons of growth. An amazing story about wishes and dreams. OH, and a magic fish. ;-) Highly recommend this book to those who enjoy good and well-written young adult fiction, with a bit of well placed history that does not overwhelm.

More, please, Ms Mobley.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tara D. on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Quite simply, I adored this book. It reminded me of the very best historical fiction I read as a kid, in that I didn't feel like I was learning a history lesson at all--I just felt totally immersed in the world of the story and invested in the fate of the main character's family as forces beyond their control threatened to crush them.

With skeptical-yet-hopeful Katerina, the author creates a wonderful character to guide us through life in a turn-of-the-century coal camp. She concocts various schemes to try to earn enough money to get her family out of the camp and into possession of a piece of land they can farm. But the powers that be at the camp aren't about to let her have her way so easily.

I hope that this book finds its place both in classrooms and far beyond them, because anyone who enjoys a beautifully-written and tension-filled story will love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EstherBradley-DeTally on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jeanne Mobley's book Katerina's Wish, is whimsical, filled with characters a reader loves immediately. I'm older than 70, and I read the book. I teach writing, creative writing, to all ages, and I found this book enchanting, with unexpected twists and turns, and found myself cheering on the heroine, whose presence fills the pages. I highly recommend this book, and I plan on buying it for my granddaughter. I am now a Jeanne Mobley devotee, i.e., any book that comes out written by Ms. Mobley will be picked up by me.
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More About the Author

Jeannie Mobley is a Colorado native who has spent much of her life daydreaming herself into other centuries. This tendency has led her to multiple degrees in history and anthropology, and a passion for writing fiction. As a result sh currently teaches anthropology to college students and writes historical fiction for young readers.

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