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May B. [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Starr Rose
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return.
Something's happened.


"If May is a brave, stubborn fighter, the short, free-verse lines are one-two punches in this Laura Ingalls Wilder-inspired ode to the human spirit," raved Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

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.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Furious that Ma and Pa have sent her out to work for the money they need, May Betts, 11, finds herself in a small, sod homestead on the western Kansas prairie in the late 1870s, 15 miles away from home, caring for a new, unsettled young bride, who is just a few years older than May. When the bride takes off, her husband leaves to find her, and May is all alone—frightened, furious, abandoned. Can she survive the five months until her parents come to collect her at Christmas? Told in very short lines, the spare free verse in spacious type is a fast read, poetic and immediate. The daily physical details are the heart of the survival story of finding food and keeping warm and safe as the snow comes, all against the dramatic backdrop of the prairie. The vast landscape is home to May, but to the new bride, the quiet is “thunderous as a storm, the way / it hounds you / inside / outside / nighttime / day.” Of course, Little House fans will grab this. Grades 3-7. --Hazel Rochman

Review

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2011:
"If May is a brave, stubborn fighter, the short, free-verse lines are one-two punches in this Laura Ingalls Wilder–inspired ode to the human spirit."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2011:
"Writing with compassion and a wealth of evocative details, Rose offers a memorable heroine and a testament to the will to survive."

Product Details

  • File Size: 1185 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1582464375
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004X6PRDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,612 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great voice. Easy to give 5 stars January 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully written novel in verse about a young woman living in Kansas as the area was being settled. She works hard when she is able to attend school, and is disappointed to leave her books behind when she must move in with another family to help out. The adventure becomes very exciting, and May finds her resources tested as winter approaches. Great for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Kirby Larson's HATTIE BIG SKY. The book is suitable for 'tween readers, but the writing has subtlety and depth that teens (such as readers of Jame Richards' THREE RIVERS RISING) will appreciate. A fast read with evocative language and a terrific story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful writing January 10, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just finished May B and loved it. The writing is vivid and beautiful. It captures the severe and sometimes terrible beauty of the Kansas prairies but also beautifully portrays a girl struggling to embrace who she is. My ten year old daughter is now reading it and loving it, too. She is intrigued by the verse in which it is written, especially since her class is currently studying poetry. I'll be buying more copies for gifts!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute delight! January 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
May B was an absolute delight!! I picked it up to read the first few pages and literally did not put it down again until I was finished. I loved the sparse, eloquent, and perfectly-pitched verse as well as the precisely defined characters. And, of course, I ached for, laughed with, and cheered for May B as she endured the challenges of surviving in the harshness of a prairie Kansas winter.

Although this is a middle-grade young adult novel, I have been enthusiastically recommending it to any age reader friends who appreciate a good story and great writing. My pre-teen grandchildren will also be the recipients of their own copies of this extraordinary first novel. Hopefully, there will be more stories ahead from this fine writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Novel in Verse with a Plucky Hero! April 24, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully observed, restrained, and poignant, Caroline Starr Rose's MAY B. is an adventure and coming of age story about a young girl who must face her fears and find her bravery in the cold landscape of the midwestern prairie. I loved Mavis's pluck and persistence, and the ending of her story brought happy tears to my eyes. An the short chapters in verse make this an excellent choice for reluctant readers and for parents and librarians looking for the perfect read-aloud. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May B March 19, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Author Caroline Starr Rose describes her striking debut novel in verse for middle grade readers as "part Hatchet, part Little House on the Prairie, part Out of the Dust. It's a story of courage and hope."

Set on the Kansas frontier, this novel tells the story of May, who's just twelve years old when her pa pulls her out of school and hires her out to a couple who've recently moved out to the endless Kansas prairies. "I won't go," is the book's poignant first line, but of course she has no real choice, in the way of all children in that era. She'll bring in some extra money for her family, and it will just be until Christmas, her ma promises her.

May hopes to be a schoolteacher one day, a surprising goal given that she has trouble learning at school. "What sort of teacher can't read out lessons?" she wonders. Yet she perseveres, bringing a book and her slate with her. When the couple she's sent to live with leave her alone in their sod house, at first she's sure they'll be returning. But when the days pass, she realizes she's been left to fend for herself, miles from any other settlers and with no help in sight. With the harsh Kansas winter coming, she must find food and fuel if she's to survive, summoning every bit of her courage and knowledge to make it through alive.

I particularly enjoyed the author's use of free verse in this short novel, which is accessible to even reluctant readers. The author's poetry is particularly evocative in describing the vastness of the Kansas prairies: "grass/always grass,/in different shades and textures/like the braids in a rag rug.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Story January 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I read it the same afternoon I received it in the mail. Once I started, I couldn't stop reading. I desperately wanted to know what would happen to May B. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful historical novel in verse January 17, 2012
Format:Hardcover
In her debut novel, Caroline Starr Rose bring to life the struggles of living on the early American prairie--the isolation, the poverty, and the unknown. Life for May B. and her family has never been particularly easy, so when the opportunity for May to earn a little on a neighboring farm is presented, her parents would be crazy to pass it up. So May is sent to live with the Oblingers until Christmas to help the new missus get on her feet. However, things go all wrong when Mrs. Oblinger up and leaves and Mr. Oblinger goes after her...leaving May B. to fend for herself as winter rapidly approaches.

May B. is a fierce and resourceful young woman. I really enjoyed watching her develop as a character. She refuses to be ruled by her learning disability--continuing to dream of someday being a teacher despite her struggles with reading. Her determination to learn to read was also just one example of how strong she was. When she's left alone by the Oblingers, she proves incredibly resourceful when it comes to survival, despite her initial elation at not having to answer to anyone else's demands. When she finally leave the cottage in an attempt to get home, the reader senses that she truly feels that she has no choice.

As someone who has always been a bit leery of novels in verse, I have to say that Ms. Rose was immensely successful in telling her story with this method. The novel lends itself to quick reading and an easy-to-imagine story. What really caught my attention is that this would be a fantastic novel to give a young person who struggles with reading. The words create vivid imagery and tell a compelling story without an overabundance of words.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars May B.
I in enjoyed this book because it was adventurous and a good book for 4th graders. It is a good book but at the end I didn't really get it. It was confusing to me. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Khinrichs
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the best.
This book became very uninteresting. I became disenchanted with it after the first chapter. I do not recommend this book.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful middle grade read!
Wonderful story of a strong young woman. The sparse poetic prose adds to the mood of the story. A great piece if historical fiction.
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth A. Bridges
5.0 out of 5 stars May B
Good golden sower book. Easy to read. Tell a good story. Held my sons interest until the end. Would recommend.
Published 4 months ago by sandhills mom
4.0 out of 5 stars fast read
The book is written in quite simplistic prose, but despite that, tells a gripping story. The simple prose is an excellent tool to convey the solitude and loneliness of the lead... Read more
Published 4 months ago by vs
5.0 out of 5 stars Got this recommendation for a grandma
this was a good book. felt so sorry for may shows that their is strength deep inside everyone. and it will come out when needed. keep strong and believe you can do anything .
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
This book got my 13 year old who likes books like this thinking. She really liked May.B `s determination. Great!
Published 5 months ago by Myong Seifert
5.0 out of 5 stars She May B. Dyslexic
Our children very often don't have an understanding of the kinds of lives people their age lived 100 or more years ago. In Caroline Starr Rose's beautiful little book, May B. Read more
Published 7 months ago by OpheliasOwn
5.0 out of 5 stars It is amazing
I like when she wanders out in the snow which makes her very brave to do that on by herself
Published 7 months ago by Andrew Dorton
2.0 out of 5 stars No real depth
Too many holes in the plot line for me. Character development sorely lacking. The only real connection to the Laura Ingalls Wilder series is location and time period.
Published 8 months ago by Julie
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More About the Author

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She's taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. In her classroom she worked to instill in her students a passion for books, an enthusiasm to experiment with words, and a curiosity about the past.

Caroline lives in New Mexico with her husband and two sons.

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