Reviews for Hattie Big Sky

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

What dreams would lead a 16-year-old to leave her safe home in Arlington, Iowa, and take a chance on a homestead claim in Montana? Hattie Brooks, an orphan, is tired of being shuttled between relatives, tired of being Hattie Here-and-There and the feeling of being the "one odd sock behind." So when Uncle Chester leaves her his Montana homestead claim, she jumps at the chance for independence. It's 1918, so this is homesteading in the days of Model Ts rather than covered wagons, a time of world war, Spanish influenza and anti-German sentiment turning nasty in small-town America. Hattie's first-person narrative is a deft mix of her own accounts of managing her claim, letters to and from her friend Charlie, who is off at war, newspaper columns she writes and even a couple of recipes. Based on a bit of Larson's family history, this is not so much a happily-ever-after story as a next-year-will-be-better tale, with Hattie's new-found definition of home. This fine offering may well inspire readers to find out more about their own family histories. (acknowledgments, author's note, further reading) (Fiction. 12-15) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Set in Montana during World War I, Larson's novel tells a gripping story of frontier life through the eyes of an unlikely homesteader--a sixteen-year-old orphan girl. Pressures to be a ""loyal"" American complicate her situation after she befriends a German couple. Evocative yet straightforward language ably depicts Hattie's joys and struggles. Recipes and an author's note are included. Reading list. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 6-10-Sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks does her best to improve her late Uncle Chester's homestead claim in eastern Montana in this recording of Kirby Larson's Newbery Honor Book (Delacorte, 2006) set in 1918. Homesteading is always hard, but it's even more difficult for a woman going it alone during World War I. Hattie's life is full of never-ending chores, including fencing and cultivating the land, and she must find the strength to fend off the schemes of a neighboring rancher to buy out her claim. The hardships and trials the teen faces are balanced by the friends she makes, including the Muellers, who encounter anti-German sentiment. Larson's inclusion of this element provides added realism to the novel. The ideas of patriotism, loyalty, and morality during war are explored in an obvious parallel to today's war in Iraq. Letters from Hattie's school chum Charlie, who is stationed in France, and her Uncle Holt in Iowa keep the story from feeling isolated. Actress Kirsten Potter provides deft narration, giving a few characters distinctive voices, but for the most part, she lets the story's own cadence carry it along. Some of the recipes mentioned, a bibliography, and a short explanatory note round off the recording. A very good choice for both public and school libraries.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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Against the backdrop of WWI, 16-year old orphan Hattie sets out from Iowa to take up her late uncle's homestead claim in Montana; a Newbery Honor book. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In this engaging historical novel set in 1918, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks leaves Iowa and travels to a Montana homestead inherited from her uncle. In the beautiful but harsh setting, she has less than a year to fence and cultivate the land in order to keep it. Neighbors who welcome Hattie help heal the hurt she has suffered from years of feeling unwanted. Chapters open with short articles that Hattie writes for an Iowa newspaper or her lively letters to a friend and possible beau who is in the military in France. The authentic first-person narrative, full of hope and anxiety, effectively portrays Hattie's struggles as a young woman with limited options, a homesteader facing terrible odds, and a loyal citizen confused about the war and the local anti-German bias that endangers her new friends. Larson, whose great-grandmother homesteaded alone in Montana, read dozens of homesteaders' journals and based scenes in the book on real events. Writing in figurative language that draws on nature and domestic detail to infuse her story with the sounds, smells, and sights of the prairie, she creates a richly textured novel full of memorable characters. --Kathleen Odean Copyright 2006 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 6 Up-Hattie, 16, is thousands of miles away from the battlefield but fights her own sort of war against fear, prejudice, and the harshness of the elements in 1918 Montana. The plucky heroine's first-person narrative is interspersed with newsy articles she writes for the local paper and letters to her friend Charlie, who is fighting somewhere in Europe. Audio version available from Random House Audio. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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