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
Heroes come in all sizes; my newest hero is a pint-sized girl named May B. Caroline Starr Rose tells May's story in simple, moving verse that captures the joy of family, the gloomy isolation of a dirt soddy, and the determination of one scared but indomitable young person. May B. is a girl you'll be proud to know.
- Karen Cushman, Newbery winner
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2011:
- American Library Association Notable Book 2013
- American Booksellers Association 2012 Spring New Voices title
- Amazon's Best Books of the Month for Kids: January 2012 selection
- Junior Library Guild selection
- Kids' Indie Next List: Spring 2012
- Publisher's Weekly Spring 2012 Flying Start
- 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Winner, juvenile division
"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."
See all Editorial Reviews