Our Only May Amelia (Harper Trophy Books (Paperback))

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9780064408561: Our Only May Amelia (Harper Trophy Books (Paperback))

It isn′t easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899, but it′s particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement. With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can′t seem to abide her family′s insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. She′s sure she could do better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama′s going to have a baby, maybe there′s hope.

Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, first-time novelist Jennifer Holm has given us a beautifully crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humour, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience.

∗Newbery Honour Book (USA), 2000

Ages 10+

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Review:

Twelve-year-old May Amelia is too busy chasing sheep, fishing for salmon, and keeping pace with the antics of her seven Finnish brothers to bother wearing a dress or scrubbing behind her ears. Unfortunately, she's being pressured to clean up her act. "It seems like everyone is conspiring to make me a Proper Young Lady," she observes in frustration. "I do not think being a proper Young Lady sounds like any fun at all."

The old-fashioned language in this historical novel seems strained at times, and the quirky use of capital letters is an unnecessary distraction, but this book is still a lot of fun. Why? For one thing, the story is set in the far, untamed reaches of the West at the turn of the 20th century, and offers encounters with Chinook Indians, dark forests, and the twists and turns of the Nasel River. And then there is May Amelia--as headstrong as rushing water, and the only female born on this stretch of the river since her family can remember. She is known (when she's not deep into trouble) as the Miracle. Will this feisty female ever settle down and become the little lady everyone expects her to be? Will her pregnant mother give birth to another girl so May Amelia can finally have a sister? You'll have to read the whole story to find out. (Ages 10 and older) --Maria Dolan

From the Inside Flap:

Approx. 4 hours  3 cassettes
Read by Emmy Rossum

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1999

It isn't easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899 --particularly when you are the only girl ever born to the new settlement.  With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can't seem to abide her family's insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady.  Not when there's fishing to be done, sheep to be hearded, and real live murderers to be captured!  All May needs is at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River.  And now that Mama's going to have a baby, maybe there's hope.

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