Monday, February 18, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: May B

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Title:  May B
Author: Caroline Starr Rose  (link)
Genre:  Historical

Pub Date: January 2012

GoodReads Synopsis:  May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead - just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter.

First line: I won't go.

From page one, readers will be struck by the originality of this novel written in verse. May B's simple, gorgeous language captures so much in so few words. As main character May prepares to leave her family, her emotional confusion and feelings of betrayal are beautifully conveyed. And as the story moves forward, May grows stronger with each challenge. Her journey makes Home Alone look like total kid stuff, and Kansas snow way more scary than a couple bumbling robbers.

Welcome to the Sod House: One of the most compelling elements in May B was the setting. Both the time and place were very much characters. Kids will easily compare their modern lives with May's - from the chores and schoolwork she does, to her homes in different seasons - making the historical aspect especially interesting.
Why You'll Love May: I've said it before - I'm a total sucker for kids who take on adult responsibilities. But May's familial sacrifice and her eventual abandonment are not the only challenges she faces heroically. May dreams she'll be a teacher one day, but struggles with reading. The determination and good old fashioned stubbornness that May uses to tackle her reading primer will inspire.

May B Themes: sacrifice, family, dealing with learning disabilities, abandonment, survival, strength, hope, growing up.

Want to find more marvelous middle grade books? Here's a list of MMGM bloggers with more recommendations every Monday!


  1. This was one of the best books I read last year - definitely a favourite!

  2. Yay! I'm glad you loved May B. as much as I did or maybe even more than I did. :)


  3. I adored this one! It brought me a love of verse novels. The sparse-but-perfect word choice is amazing.

  4. I read this for the Cybils and really enjoyed it. It's great for kids who need a quick read but want to imagine themselves in a historical context.

  5. I just read this a couple weeks ago and I'm featuring it next week. It is so powerful in such a simple way.

  6. There is something about the story's summary that makes me think of Island of the Blue Dolphins. I too like stories where a MC has to take on adult responsibilities and rise to the occasion.

  7. This sounds so good! I have been loving the cover for a while and now that I have read this review- I must read it soon! Thanks for sharing. The MC sounds great!

  8. Sorry I missed your review last week (took a blogging break). I, too, loved this book. It was one of my favorite MG reads in 2012, and so inspiring.

    And Caroline is such a sweetheart, she deserves all the praise.