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May B.

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  5,622 ratings  ·  946 reviews
I’ve known it since last night:
It’s been too long to expect them to return.
Something’s happened.

May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod hous
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,622 ratings  ·  946 reviews

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Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A quick read (it's lyrical!) about a young girl left on her own in very difficult circumstances. I liked the parallels between May's struggle to survive and her struggle to read. ...more
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: Ivory Teegarden
My niece, Malory, and my great-niece, Ivory (age 10) are in a mother-daughter book club. What a great way to instill at a young age a love of books as well as critical thinking about what you're reading. I check in occasionally to see what they're reading and May B. was their most recent pick. It's a story about a 12-year-old pioneer girl who is "farmed out" one August to help a neighboring newlywed couple. One less mouth to feed and a little income for May's family and her father promises it's ...more
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love stories in verse therefore I wasn't much surprised when I ended up enjoying May B. a whole lot more than I had expected to. There's this cleanliness about the poetry that makes it easy to read. The thing with writing a story in verse is that you have to be very careful about the details you put and the ones you leave out. Because of the structure, you cannot, as you would in prose form novels, describe things to the minute detail. I felt that May B. very successfully portrayed Mavis and t ...more
Liza Nahas
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My daughter & I were mesmerized by this book. It is really meant to be read aloud. And, my daughter learned about dyslexia in a most subtle way. We loved the brave patience of May! If you like "mighty girl" books, this is for you! ...more
Sherrie Petersen
May B is an unlikely hero: a 12-year-old girl with a learning disability, fending for herself during a harsh prairie winter. In the wrong hands, the story could tend toward melodrama. Or it could just plain be boring. Fortunately, this story is neither.

May's story unfolds in verse. The style works well in this book, emphasizing the stark prairie and the simplicity of of May's every day existence. Author Caroline Starr Rose manages to weave in plenty of historical details, adding another rich lay
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Review for work:

Oh boy, a verse historical fiction novel, always the most popular item in any library! Kidding aside, it’s hard for me to see this book going out too much, unless it’s for the reluctant reader who has to write a report on a historical fiction book over 200 pages long. Because the verse leaves so much white space, the text density here is more like a Frog and Toad book, yet it comes to a cool 225 pages in the ARC.

This book had too many themes swirling in the mix: gender disparity
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author, Caroline Rose Starr, was named Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author for this book, May B. She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two sons. She spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico. Caroline even wrote poetry as a child. The whole book is written in poetry.

This story is about a girl named is Mavis Elizabeth Betterly, or May B. May is twelve years old. She lives with her Ma, Pa, and brother in a soddy in the Kansas Prairie. To help her family get mo
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction in verse is hard to carry off and ultimately I compare everything to Out of the Dust which is most unfair on my part. I think Rose's job was even more difficult because so much of her book deals with one character alone - but what a strong character May is. May's fight for survival alone on the prairie is fascinating enough, but the flashbacks into her learning difficulties when she was at school make the character even more relatable and intriguing. I think Rose definitely wi ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a good book despite what people have told me about it. May B. really went through a struggle and she made it out. In my opinion May is a storng willed character. Half the things she did I don't think I could ever do. Growing up on the prairie definitely made her a lot more knowledgeable about survival than if she lived in the city. This is a good book if you are looking for a quick read and like a little bit of adventure. ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I won't give a synopsis because others have done that already. What I will say is that this is one amazing book. Seriously. The language is so sparse, yet the visuals are so great. The emotion palatable. The character fully developed. I very much enjoyed MAY B. Will recommend highly to others—including reluctant readers. ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it

in short-grass country,
I understand infinity."

Since this book was written in free verse, it was a relatively quick read. I think I had fairly high expectations since the author is a big fan of Laura Ignalls Wilder, but the focus ended up being more on May's difficulty reading and her troubles in school. The beginning was quite strong and I was eager to read more. Unfortunately, I thought the story lagged toward the middle and became quite melodramatic.

"Some days I sit in the rocke
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Little House fans young and old, adventure lovers, history lovers
I'm always a bit skeptical of verse novels. You'd think that my appreciation for books by Sharon Creech would have me convinced by now, but I always pick them up with the same wary question in my mind: "Ooookay, is this actually any good or is this a gimmick?" I think a lot of us approach poetry with, if not fear, then a sense of drudgery. It is going to be too drippy? Will it be too dense? Lured by Christopher Silas Neal's beautiful cover illustration and type and interested to read a non-Laura ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book took me back to my childhood favorite, Little House on the Prairie. I didn't know that this book would be a novel in verse, which isn't really my thing. But the topic of the book, life in the American West, during the Westward Expansion era, is one of my all time favorites. The action in this book started right away. I was glad that the protagonist is the heroine of her own story, despite the fact that she was still a child. My only complaint is that I wish there were additional charac ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This is touching story written in verse about a young girl that finds herself all alone living on the prairie. May is sent to live with a man and his new wife to help the two of them get settled. However, when she is left all alone she must fend for herself. I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was younger and this reminded me of that quite a bit. However, I felt that it dragged in the middle and I wanted more from story than what I got. I do think that this would bring up great discussion ...more
This is very well done and very compelling. It shows the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive even in the most desperate of circumstances.

I personally still can't shake off the claustrophobia that I felt during those blizzard scenes when poor May B. was trapped.... basically buried alive. (Shudder).
Jul 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
May B. is the story of twelve-year-old May Betterly. May lives with her parents and older brother, Hiram, in a sparsely populated area of Kansas in the late nineteenth century. (Readers of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books will recognize the setting, as it is very similar to those described in those books of the prairies in Minnesota and Wisconsin.)

The book is written in free verse, which makes it a much faster read than any of Wilder's books. In Part One May has discovered she is to liv
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up from because I love verse novels and historical fiction. I've done graduate work with nontraditional text structures in childrens' and YA literature, so I gravitated right to it.

May B. is charming and a fast read. Rose's inspiration in the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder is clear. I couldn't help but feel that this was Wilder's The Long Winter with a more contemporary focus.

May B. is a twelve-year-old girl (although I had a hard time seeing her that young in my mind)
Bidisha Das
Also posted on Dreamcatcher's Lair

Verse is the most beautiful form of writing EVER. Seriously. Prose can be made beautiful but anything that verse touches is instantly beautified. It's easy to go wrong with verse, but if you get it right, the result is nothing short of dazzling.

Caroline Starr Rose's May B. is one such beautiful novel. The verse is stylistic, yet simplistic and makes for a read that is oh-so-compelling, it begs to be completed quickly. And that's easy, because it is fast paced an
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose is an absolutely lovely novel written in verse. I had never read a novel in verse before, but this was done so well, reading it was pure pleasure. The story flowed effortlessly, the scenes described in detail such that I felt the cold of the blizzard.

May B. is a strong young girl to whom all young readers can relate. She is mad at her parents for sending her away to help another family, but she loves and misses them anyway. She has trouble reading, so she keeps work
Heather Anastasiu
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apocalypsies
This book is so beautiful. It’s the kind of book I would have loved when I was a tween (is that the term now? I’m so old, lol)—it’s got an intensity and seriousness to it, but it’s still so accessible. I’ve never read a novel in verse before and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I wondered if it would slow down my reading. Instead though, I think it made it swifter, while at the same time, some of the line breaks would add punch to thoughts, descriptions, or emotions.

This story is intense, un-
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
This is the first novel in verse I've read.

May B is a girl who's parents left her to work for Mr.and Mrs. Oblinger for a few months. She is abandoned when Mrs. Oblinger runs away from her husband who goes right after her. She is left alone on the farm for five months and her food supplies eventually run out.

In the beginning she questions everything. She is very insecure about herself because she has a learning disability and people think she is stupid and not worth the trouble. When she has no
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-library
May B. is sent by her father to work for her neighbors house to get it situated for the newlyweds and would return for her by Christmas. When the wife runs away from the Kansas prairie for home and the husband follows, May is abandoned to fend for herself in the lonely woods and harsh winter. Can she survive until Christmas? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. If you like historical stories with Laura Ingalls Wilder influence, definitely check this book out for yoursel
Mar 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
I couldn't stand this book. Yes, historical fiction isn't my first choice, frankly neither is verse style writing, but this was so slow and depressing. There was not one ounce of hope in the book. Even May's struggles with her dyslexia only serve to be a reminder to her of bad times. There was no resolution at the end. Do we have to give our students such a horribly bleak and depressing picture of life in a sod house? ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this quick historical novel-in-verse. It was reminiscent of the Little House books as well as Hattie Big Sky, though a quicker read. In the classroom, pitch it not only as historical fiction but also a great survival story.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This was written weird, I guess like a poem, or prose? It was actually kinda interesting....I read this in like 2 hours. I mean it was just kind of a different sort of book.
Kim Bahr
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Quick verse fiction that gives insight into life on the Kansas frontier
Zoe (Book Hooked)
Reread and 5⭐️ as always :)
Emily Walsh
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
May B., a novel written by Caroline Starr Rose, is a wonderfully written piece that would be suitable for grades 3-5. Written in verse, this historical fiction book takes the reader to the late 1800s on the prairies of Kansas. From the first page of this multi-award winning book, the reader falls in love with strong-willed May, the main character who is tasked with going to live with and work for strangers to earn some money for her parents. Twelve year-old May is adamant about not going, but he ...more
Apr 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rather than participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year, I decided to set my own reading goals. One of them is to read a book written in verse. I have never read this kind of book before and wanted to try something out of the ordinary. So I spotted May B. and decided on that one as I enjoy the historical time period in which the story is set.

While reading May B., I drew a comparison between books written in verse and wordless books. Both are simple and yet profound. Sometimes few w
Sophia Schuster
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought that this book was beautifully written, but I was a little disappointed when the story ended so quickly. It was written in verse, so it was very short. I would have enjoyed it a little more if it wasn't written in verse. Don't get me wrong, I like stories written in verse, but it just felt like there wasn't enough detail when it was written in this format. Also, I was hoping that something big would happen the whole time, but she mostly just stayed in the same place the entire time. Th ...more
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Dent Book Challen...: May B. by Carolina Starr Rose 1 5 Apr 15, 2015 12:40PM  

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Caroline Starr Rose is the author of MAY B. (2012), OVER IN THE WETLANDS (2015), and BLUE BIRDS (2015).

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“So many things
I know about myself
I've learned from others.
Without someone else to listen,
to judge,
to tell me what to do,
and choose
who I am,
do I get to decide for myself?”
“Some days I sit in the rocker,
the quilt about me though it's hot outside.
I shun the sunlight,
groan to think of the water I must fetch,
the steps I'll have to take,
the work that's needed
just to exist.”
More quotes…