Author: Kirby Larson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Date Finished: 15 March 2008
My Rating: 5 Stars
2007 Newbery Honor Book (and so much better than the winner from 2007!!)
"For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim.
Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove on her quest to discover the true meaning of home."
Larson said she wanted to write a story about homesteading in the time of Model T's instead of Wagons and based the idea of a 16 year old girl homesteading on her own on her great-grandmother's experiences.
The characters are what made this story. Hattie finds herself surrounded by a whole cast of vivid and individual characters. It is through her associations with these people, the good and the bad that Hattie learns her own strength. I loved the letters and newspaper columns that start out most of the chapters. I thought Hattie's voice was charming and true to the period.
I imagine that some people would not like the ending but I thought it was perfect. I think it was an ending full of hope and anticipation for the future.
Larson even includes some recipes at the end of the book!
My only real complaint is that I felt Larson was trying to push a bit of her own political agenda in the story.
You can read the first chapter of Hattie Big Sky here.