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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old




*The Misadventures of Maude March: Or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse* by Audrey Couloumbis - young readers book review

 
Also by Audreay Couloumbis:

Lexie

Jake
 
The Misadventures of Maude March: Or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse
by Audrey Couloumbis
Grades 3-4 112 pages Aladdin April 2006 Paperback    

The Misadventures of Maude March follows the journey of Sally March and her sister Maude as they try to find their last living relative. It is a journey that takes them from the settled world of Cedar Rapids to the half wild town of Independence, Missouri. Along the way they meet bandits, blizzards, cougars, and all the other adventures Sally finds in her beloved dime novels, along with the dirt, hunger, and boredom that all the writers somehow forget.

Told from Sallyís point of view, Maude March balances a sense of childhood wonder with adolescent disillusionment, often in the same passage. Sally and Maude are wonderful, believable girls, able to worry, rejoice, and join in sisterly combat without any sense of internal contradiction. Sally herself is consistently likeable, determined to behave heroically even as circumstances force her older sister into lead role. Maude, seen through her little sisterís eyes, is often incomprehensible but never unlovable.

Audrey Coulombis sets the tale broadly in Americaís antebellum era without needing to point out every wagon wheel and butter churn. A few references to James gang and the wild environs west of the Missouri give enough flavor to anchor the story while being vague enough to allow for some storytellerís latitude with historical accuracy. Relying on the acceptance of child labor or trapped by unchallenged yellow journalism, The Misadventures of Maude March are always a story of their time, even as the people show themselves to be the same as those from any other time. All of this is shown in a fast paced narrative that never bogs down in exposition or civics lessons.

Audrey Coulombis is already a Newbery award holder, and The Misadventures of Maude March proves her to be no one-trick pony. Maude March is a great read and a great ride for adventurers of any age.
   
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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