Monday, April 14, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Hattie Ever After and a Bonus

Today's pick for MMGM is one of those books that can be considered both middle grade and young adult. I think it is fine for older middle graders to read, but some parts might be a little hard for them to understand. More on that in a moment.

HATTIE EVER AFTER
by: Kirby Larsen

Delacorte Press 2013

From the jacket flap:
Great Falls, Montana, 1919

When Hattie mails off her last check to Mr. Nefzger, her uncle’s debt is paid in full. Now she is free to go anywhere, away from Mrs. Brown’s boardinghouse and the less-than-glamorous life of a chambermaid. Hattie’s dear friend Perilee urges her to do the sensible thing and join her family in Seattle. But Hattie is not prone to the sensible. What sensible girl would say yes to spending a year under Montana’s big sky trying to make a go of a long-lost uncle’s homestead claim? And what sensible girl would say no to Charlie, who is convinced he and Hattie are meant to grow old together?

For all its challenges and sorrows, Hattie’s time on the homestead gave her a taste of what if might be like to stake her own claim on life. She hasn’t yet confessed it to anyone, not even to Perilee, but Hattie has thrown a lasso around a dream even bigger than a Montana farm.

She wants to be a big-city reporter.

And thanks to a vaudeville vanishing act, a mysterious love token, an opera star and her unique ability to throw a snake ball, it looks like Hattie just might have a chance.

For those that wanted to know what happened to Hattie after Hattie Big Sky this sequel doesn't disappoint. (My thoughts on Hattie Big Sky are here.) It starts a few months after Hattie moves to Great Falls and continues as she follows her new dream to become a great female reporter. Hattie is an adult and on her own, which lends to the more mature themes of the book that younger readers just might not understand yet, like living on your own in the city, looking for a job to pay the bills - which was difficult for women at the time - and being courted. I enjoyed reading about Hattie in 1919 San Francisco, a time period I haven't read much about. Kirby Larson does a fantastic job creating new and memorable characters and keeping me reading to see if my initial thoughts about some of them were true or not. I loved the ending and seeing Hattie continue in her transformation from orphan to young woman and dream-chaser to dream-realizer.

For a special bonus today, I wanted to quickly share two wonderful picture books that I read over the weekend.

SNOWFLAKES FALL
by: Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg
Random House Children's Books 2013

I checked this out of the library, but now I definitely want to own a copy. Such a simple, beautifully written book, especially after knowing it was written to help those in the Sandy Hook and Newtown, Connecticut communities.




CINDY MOO
by: Lori Mortensen and Jeff Mack
HarperCollins Children's Books 2012

Lori is a master of rhyme and I love Jeff Mack's illustrations of farm animals. (He's great in Mr. Duck Means Business too.) Their take on the familiar nursery rhyme - "Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon!" - is fantastic!


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