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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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May B. Hardcover – January 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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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


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


  • 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


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."
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158246393X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582463933
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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., we see a young girl who sounds very much like my own students today in 2013. But May's life is very, very different in many ways, and I can't help but think how special it would be for our students to read this book.

May's parents tell her she is going to have to travel 15 miles to live with another homesteader and his new wife. They need help around the homestead, and he is willing to pay May's parents to have her stay with them and help for the next few months. May knows it isn't permanent, but she also isn't ready to move away from her parents for so long with no way to be in contact with them. 15 miles across rough land in a horse and buggy is nothing to take lightly. To make matters worse, May is going to have to stop going to school when she moves in with them. School is hard enough for May, but with such a long time away from it, she knows she is never going to move out of the little kid side of the schoolhouse. It is embarrassing enough to have to sit with the little kids at her age because she can't read. After months away, she knows it will be worse and she will suffer the wrath of her teacher even more than she does now.

At the homestead, it is clear the homesteader's wife doesn't want to be there. She doesn't intend to do any chores herself, but it seems like May's very presence bothers her. When she picks up and leaves, her new husband chases after her, leaving May behind in the homestead. May assumes they will be back, but days and days pass and no one returns.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am only half way through and cannot wait to read the rest. I am reading it with my 7 YO son who is also loving it. It is so beautiful to read aloud. I am just getting lost in the language! LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. Looking forward to ordering another from Caroline Starr Rose.
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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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