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Our Only May Amelia
ISBN 0064408566 / 9780064408561 / 0-06-440856-6
Publisher Trophy Newbery
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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 [via]