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Tween Tuesday: May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted here at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun and add your link below.


Rating: 4/5 Stars

Genre: Historical

Release Date: 1/10/2012

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About the Book: May has been sent to a neighbor's homestead to help out. It's only for a few months and it's a way her family can earn some extra money. Plus, it's not like she's doing much in school anyway-she's having trouble reading, so why does she need school? The neighbor's new bride isn't liking life on the Kansas prairie and she needs help cooking and cleaning. But when a tragedy leaves May alone as winter approaches, May must rely on her wits to survive.


GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: May B is a book that appeals to my tween self. If I had read this as a tween, I would have devoured and loved. I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and living on the frontier (of course it was much more glamorous in my mind!) so this book was right up my ally.


May's story is told in verse which packs a powerful punch to May's journey. It works well because for most of the novel, May is alone, trapped in a snowstorm and trying to survive. I tend to not like books with little dialogue and with May on her own for most of the story, there's not a lot of dialogue happening in this book. But the verse format worked well for the story. It shows the seriousness of May's situation-she is alone and trying her best to survive.
I felt May's emotions and related to her more with the verse poetry. Each poem was like a glimpse into her thoughts instead of reading one long passage of her internal narration. I'm probably not describing it very well, but it worked wonderfully to help tell this story!

There's also a storyline that deals with May's dyslexia. May dreams of growing up and becoming a teacher, but she can't read. She's always had trouble in school and she had one teacher who has encouraged her dreams and one who has not. May has a difficult time trying to figure out who to believe and if she should hang onto her dreams of teaching. The nice thing is that her struggle with dyslexia isn't laid out all at once and told to us. We're shown slowly throughout the novel that May is struggling in school. This works well because we come to discover May's dyslexia by it being shown to us instead of being told.

The frontier aspect of the story will have lots of appeal to fans of historical fiction. May describes the household, the landscape and her struggle to survive in beautiful historical detail. Seriously, my frontier loving tween self would have loved this. I would have finished this book and immediately started planning what I would do if I were trapped in the snow! I would hand this book over to readers of Little House on the Prairie who I'm sure would love it. 

Book Pairings: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Unsigned Valentine by Johanna Hurwitz, Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from galley copy recieved via Netgalley

Comments

  1. I can't wait to read this! Great review.

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  2. I've seen this one around, but for some reason didn't know it was a frontier book. Now I really want to read it!

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  3. I agree with Juju - can't wait to read this one! I'm excited for the similarities with the Wilder books - I did love historical children's lit as a kid. Great review.

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  4. Great review! Makes me more interested in picking it up now.

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  5. Ok, there are some obvious differences, but whenever I see a review of May B it makes me think of Revolver! And the title makes me think of So B. It! I need to just read it so it can remind me only of itself... especially since you enjoyed it so much!

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  6. This was only my second book in verse to read. I loved it. So excited for Caroline. She did such a great job in telling May's story.

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  7. Absolutely adorable and amazing book! Loved May soooo much.

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  8. Aww, I really liked this one, too! I love that she includes May's dyslexia and that May was determined to work hard no matter what. And I agree, I would have eaten this up when I went through my Little House phase. ;)

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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee