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      Mary Karr 9780062223067

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The Misadventures of Maude March


The Misadventures of Maude March Cover





The heat was awful.

The breeze, when we got one, felt like it came out of an oven. Aunt Ruthie hoped to take our minds off

our misery by taking us to town. Even in the dim cool of the mercantile, sweat made our clothing cling to

our skin.

My dress was the worst, made out of some kind of muslin that got itchy once it stuck to me. Every two

minutes, Aunt Ruthie would say, "Stop scratching, Sallie, it isn't polite."

The shooting didn't start until we'd stepped outside of the mercantile. The screen door whacked shut

behind us, and we were greeted by a volley of shots. It was stunning really. Then it was scary. The noise

was too great to take it all in at once.

It's strange the way time stretched in that moment and seemed to go on forever. The entire morning

passed through my mind, starting when my older sister Maude ate my biscuit with jelly that I had left over

from breakfast.

When I complained there were no more biscuits, and that was the last of the black currant jelly, she said,

"If you wanted it, you shouldn't have left it laying around." So while Aunt Ruthie said it was the heat, I

knew it was that biscuit that had me squabbling with Maude all day.

As we neared the barber shop, walking to town, Maude pulled Aunt Ruthie toward a stone bench, saying,

"You're tiring yourself. Come sit down for a minute," and I dragged on Aunt Ruthie's other arm, saying, "It

gets too hot to sit on that rock in the sun. Let's go someplace cooler."

Aunt Ruthie said, "I've had enough of being pulled apart."

In the mercantile, she showed her teeth at us and whispered, "You are to keep your distance, both of

you. I don't care to listen to you bicker for another minute." We promised to be good. To this, she said,

"Stay over there by the farm goods."

In these aisles, there were only smelly jars of lanolin and herbal salves to examine, and such things as

curative oils for ear mites and wireworm to avoid, having nasty little pictures of the ills on the side of the

bottles. This bothered me so bad that I pulled a dimer out of my pocket and set to reading it instead.

But Aunt Ruthie was right in sending us there. It was not two minutes before Maude started up again.

She told me that Joe Harden Frontier Fighter, was never a real man. "Those books weren't meant for girls

to read, either," she said.

"How would you know?" I said to her. Maude didn't like for me to read dime novels. Sad to say, Maude

thought dimers were a waste of learning how to read.

"It's just a made-up name for made-up stories out of books," she said. "Boys probably look up to him, but

Joe Harden is just a story figure."

"Like David?" I asked her.

"David who?"

"David who slew Goliath. Is he made up?"

"Of course not, Sallie," Maude said. "What a terrible thing to say. Don't you let Aunt Ruthie hear you talk

like that."

I didn't think Aunt Ruthie would care all that much. She hardly ever cared about anything but whether the

work was done right. Maude was the one who cared about such things.

Maude and me were orphaned when our folks took sick with the fever. Aunt Ruthie had already started

out from Philadelphia to come live with us and teach school. By the time she got to Cedar Rapids, Aunt

Ruthie had to take us in. Or rather, we took her in, and she took care of us.

I'm forgetting Uncle Arlen. He was Aunt Ruthie's, and Momma's, younger brother, but he had gone west

not long after our folks died, and we had not heard from him in years. So he didn't count as kin. Aunt

Ruthie herself said he was as good as dead to us.

She felt he ought to have stayed around to help her raise us, I guess. Around the middle of winter, she

felt he ought to have stayed around to chop wood; that was when I heard his name mentioned most

often. Aunt Ruthie could hold a grudge second to none.

"David's out of a book," I said stubbornly, "and I ain't never seen any giants."

"That's because he killed them all," Maude told me. "You have to stop reading those cheap stories. Your

grammar is atrocious."

"You ever seen any Indians?" I asked her.

"Not around here," Maude said.

"That's because Joe Harden, Frontier Fighter, cleared them all out. Single-handed." That's what I said. But

down deep, I believed Maude.

"Single-handedly," she said. Maude had in the past year begun to help Aunt Ruthie in the classroom, and

she had become quite a stickler. "Kansas is a frontier, Sallie. Iowa is civilized."

"It didn't used to be," I said, but only because it grated on me sometimes that Maude knew just about


Everything except what I had learned from those dime novels. I just knew that if I ever had to survive off

the land the way the frontier fighters did, if I had to kill a bear or outsmart a wily Indian, I'd be better able

to do it than my sister.

"Ask Aunt Ruthie about Joe Harden then," Maude said as Aunt Ruthie came our way, carrying her

purchases, wrapped in brown paper that nearly matched her dress.

We'd been orphans for six years. In that time, given the choice between Maude's answers and Aunt

Ruthie's, when mulling over the knobbly questions of life, I'd found Maude's to be more to the point.

Maude said, "Go ahead, ask."

"Don't you dare ask me anything." Aunt Ruthie strode right on past us. "Some days it isn't even a good

idea to get out of bed," she muttered as we left the mercantile.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Couloumbis, Audrey
Yearling Books
Lawrence, Caroline
Humorous Stories
Adventure and adventurers
Action & Adventure - General
Frontier and pioneer life
Children s-Adventure Stories
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
P.K. Pinkerton
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 3 up to 7
7.64x5.22x.80 in. .47 lbs.
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction
Children's » Humor
Children's » Middle Readers » General

The Misadventures of Maude March Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Yearling Books - English 9780375832475 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Maude March is a "wanted woman," though she never meant to be. As she and her sister Sallie face one hardship after another, their troubles mount and their lives begin to look like those of the roughriders in the dime novels Sallie reads. If I ever had to face the wild frontier, I'd want Maude and Sallie March with me, especially if they could make me laugh the way this book did.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Maude March is a "wanted woman," though she never meant to be. As she and her sister Sallie face one hardship after another, their troubles mount and their lives begin to look like those of the roughriders in the dime novels Sallie reads. If I ever had to face the wild frontier, I'd want Maude and Sallie March with me, especially if they could make me laugh the way this book did.

"Review" by , "This is excitin' stuff that you quickly start readin' with a frontier twang. It is a good book that should challenge and amuse the upper elementary crowd."
"Synopsis" by ,
"Clever, and very funny."--The New York Times

The year is 1862, and twelve-year-old P.K. “Pinky” Pinkerton is on the run from Whittlin Walt and his gang of ruthless desperados. P.K. is determined to hold on to Mas last priceless possession: the deed to a large amount of land and silver mines in the Nevada Mountains. Problem is, thats exactly what Whittlin Walt is after, and hell do just about anything to get his hands on it. P.K. will have to be both clever and cunning to evade the band of outlaws. But time is running out, and no one can run forever. After all, this is the Wild West, and theres hardly a safe place to hide.

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