Caroline Starr Rose
May B. is a pioneer girl. She and her family live in a sod hut on the frontier. Her parents arrange for her to go and be a companion to a new bride 15 miles away. May does not want to go. But her father promises it will only be until Christmas. Once at Mr. and Mrs. Oblinger’s home May begins to do the chores that Mrs. Oblinger should be doing. But Mrs. Oblinger is too occupied with being miserable away from her city life and her family to care about what May is doing. One morning May discovers that Mrs. Oblinger has run away back home to the city. Mr. Oblinger goes after her and leaves May alone. But neither of them come back. May is on her own in a place with little food, prowling wolves, no gun and the potential to be snowed in for months at a time.
This is a heart-wrenching story of the courage of one pioneer girl. Even though she must battle the prairie and live on her own for a few months, she must also battle the seeds of doubt planted by everyone who told her she wasn’t smart and couldn’t do anything on her own. And that truly was the greater battle for a young girl who is dyslexic in a world that didn’t understand what in the world that even meant. And since this novel is told in verse, those that struggle with reading can read May B.’s story without being too overwhelmed by the amount of text on one page. In fact, they can read a beautiful historical story that looks as long as any regular-sized chapter book should be and feel the accomplishment having done so. We’ll done, Ms. Rose. We’ll done.
Book discussion questions:
If you were trapped in a house by yourself for months at a time, what would you don first? What would you miss doing?
What should May have done to prepare herself for winter once she realized that she would be on her own until Christmas?
Why did her family decide that she needed to go and live with the Oblinger’s?
What would you have done if a wolf was crawling around where you lived?
Why did May B. feel stupid? What would you have done to be her friend?
What is dyslexia? How did that make it hard for May to read and write?
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012
FORMAT: historical, verse
AGES: elementary and middle school