May B. by Caroline Star Rose

This is a beautiful story and a very quick read as it’s done in free verse. May B. is a girl, maybe 12 or 13?, living on the Kansas prairie with her family.  To earn a few dollars her parents send her to stay with a man and his new wife (who says she is not mail order, but she may as well be.)  They live in soddies, which are small and basically underground-so, an uncomfortable situation for May who is cooped up with the young Mrs. who hates prairie life.  A few weeks after May arrives the wife takes off and when her husband chases after her May finds herself alone.  When they don’t return after a few days she realizes that she really is alone. This is a great book for those of us who read the Little House books because I immediately realized what a boatload of trouble May was in.  It’s autumn and winter is coming-her father is supposed to pick her up right before Christmas.  She’s fifteen miles away, which a healthy person could walk in one day.  However, once night falls, forget it-a wolf will get you.  Day after day May is in the soddy trying to stay alive on the tiny amount of food she has.  Equally dangerous is the fact she is basically all alone on the prairie in a hole in the ground- I mean, she’s practically going nuts.  May spends a lot of time thinking about her life and, specifically, the troubles she has with reading.  To the present day reader it’s clear she has dyslexia, but in her time May is just branded as simple.

This was a wonderful story, filled with danger and courage.  A good historical fiction choice, and definitely for fans of LHOP!

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