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The Wonder of Charlie Anne Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-8–When Charlie Anne's mother dies, her cousin Mirabel arrives to take charge of her, her siblings, and their household. But the woman's unremitting chore assignments and insistence on reading The Charm of Fine Manners send Charlie Anne to the barn, the fields, the river, and her mother's gravesite to escape. Papa takes her older brother up north to try to earn money working on the roads, and Mirabel sends younger brother Peter to stay with relatives in Boston, leaving Charlie Anne even more inclined to befriend their new neighbors, the exotic pants-wearing Rosalyn and her ward, Phoebe, an African-American girl. The painful poverty and bigotry of the Depression era set the stage for Charlie Anne's gradually increasing awareness of the impact and unfairness of prejudice and her power to make changes in the world and her own circumstances. The girl's vinegar pie appears throughout the book as a symbol of her value to the family and her abilities, even as Mirabel's own growth is reflected in her slow willingness to acknowledge Charlie Anne's skill and her acceptance of Phoebe. Each character is distinct and adds flavor, but it's Charlie Anne's voice that resonates as she confronts both the hardships and unfairness of life, yet finds ways to change things for the better.Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Drudgery cuts to the bone in this Depression-era tale, as Charlie Anne struggles to hang heavy laundry and muck out the outhouse. Hard-hearted Mirabel, with her endless list of chores, came to care for the family when Charlie’s mother died, and it seems all of the fun has gone out of life. Then Papa and older brother Thomas head north to build roads and send home some New Deal money. Bereft, Charlie mentally communicates with her dead mother for support and clings to her beloved farm animals to stave off loneliness. When her neighbor Mr. Jolly takes an intriguing new wife, Rosalyn, with an African American daughter, Charlie’s world slowly brightens. Rosalyn has bold ideas and works hard to open a school as well as the minds of the provincial, bluntly racist, unaccepting neighbors. The town turns around a little too miraculously, perhaps, but this is a poignant tale of fighting odds and struggling to find one’s strengths. Grades 5-8. --Anne OMalley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 970L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Yearling ed. edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037585455X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375854552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kimberly Newton Fusco's new novel introduces us to the spirited Charlie Anne, who narrates this unforgettable story of family, friendship, prejudice, courage, and vinegar pie set in a small town during the Depression. Charlie Anne's mama has just died in childbirth when the story begins. Her "new mama," come to take care of her and her four siblings, is her cousin Mirabel, who showed up with all her suitcases and her no-nonsense manner to take charge of her Papa and her whole family. Charlie Anne is saddled with all the domestic chores, from doing the wash to making vinegar pie, and only can escape when she visits the nearby river, where her mother is buried. At the river, Charlie Anne tells her mother all her news. Times are hard, with luxuries like lemon drops so precious that the kids take a lick and put the candy back in their pocket for later. But when Charlie Anne's beloved Papa tells her he has to take a job up north building roads, taking her brother Thomas along, she is so angry at his separating her family she won't even let him hug her goodbye.

Charlie Anne's town is small, so small that there's not even a school teacher--their school has been boarded up for over a year. Charlie Anne doesn't mind, because the letters dance around and make no sense to her, and the old teacher made her stand in a trash bucket because she couldn't read properly. But life changes for her when Old Mr. Jolly, her neighbor, who isn't really so old, gets a new wife, Rosalyn, who dresses in pants and arrives with an African-American girl, Phoebe, about Charlie Anne's age. Charlie Anne "never saw a colored girl up close before," and she's not sure "if Mirabel will let me play with a colored girl or not." And can Mr.
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Format: Paperback
Living on a farm in the midst of the Great Depression means that times are hard, especially for Charlie Anne and her family, who recently lost their beloved mother. Charlie Anne hears the voice of her mother everywhere she goes, especially the nearby river, where she seeks out refuge from her sadness and troubles. Still, she knows that they will always get by as long as they stay together as a family, a conviction that is shattered when her father leaves them to earn money building roads up north.

Left in the care of their awful cousin Mirabel, she and her siblings have to make by as best they can, wearing hand-me-down clothes, going without shoes and education, and working hard to maintain their home. It’s not the happiest existence, but Charlie Anne tries her best to keep the family united. Everything changes on the day that two strangers move in next door and shake the town upside down. Rosalyn is a free-thinking schoolteacher who runs around in red pepper red trousers, and Phoebe is her African-American daughter, the first person of color that Charlie Anne has ever seen in her life. The two girls become fast friends, and fast funny Phoebe turns out to be the perfect solace for the still-grieving Charlie Anne.

Unfortunately, cousin Mirabel and the rest of the town are not as thrilled with their new neighbors, and they have to keep their playtimes a secret. As racial tensions mount and Rosalyn and Phoebe try to open up an integrated schoolhouse, Charlie Anne learns what people are really made of. Her hard times have just begun as she learns to stand up to injustice for the sake of her friend, finally donning some trousers of her own and realizing that this world still has plenty of surprises and pleasures in it. This is a lovely tale of friendship in the face of adversity, of family and love, of the power of education, and of life after loss.

This review originally appeared on ABookandaHug.com
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Format: Kindle Edition
I think when I see lemon drops, I will think of Birdie in this book. Birdie is Charlie Anne’s youngest sister and this girl can make a lemon drop last forever. Lemon drops are a special treat so Birdie only takes a few licks of her beloved sweet and then she folds it up in her hand and she saves it for later. Times were hard after the depression and Charlie Ann’s family is struggling to survive. Dad is trying to take care of his five children on his own and the farm is barely making it. With promises of a job, dad sets off with the oldest boy leaving the younger children behind with their cousin Mirabel. Patience is running thin in the household with father gone, as the children and Mirabel don’t see eye-to-eye. One of the neighbors brings home a new wife Rosalyn, and that sets off some sparks in town. Rosalyn arrives in long pants, along with a young African American girl who is about the same age as Charlie Anne. Its small town gossip at its finest as town folk start their rumors regarding this new family. Charlie Anne thinks she might have a new friend but not if Mirabel can put a stop to it. Charlie Anne needs her father now more than ever and the town is split with the addition of these new individuals. A great book with lots of love, adventure and drama inside.
You have to love Charlie Anne approach to life, she‘s proud and she’s bold but she’s still just a child. Telling her father how she feels, taking a stand with Mirabel, hanging out with Phoebe and her experiences in school, they are all good examples on how lived. When she goes to the river to talk to her mom and then the way she talks to the animals on the farm it’s as though she really does have this special touch, and that these things/people are actually conversing and responding to her.
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