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Calico Bush

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,559 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Left orphaned and alone in a strange country, thirteen-year-old Marguerite Ledoux has no choice but to become a servant girl. She promises her services to the Sargent family for six long years in return for food and shelter. But life as a "bound-out girl" is full of more hardship than Maggie ever could have imagined. Living with the family in an isolated part of northern M ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Aladdin (first published 1931)
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,559 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: early-america
This is really for an older audience -- 6th grade or above. There is a scene where the main character (a girl of about 12 or 13) stumbles upon a place where people have been killed (burned, supposedly by Indians) and she finds a lock of a child's hair attached to a piece of scalp and a buckle from a child's shoe. There is also a scene where a baby dies after her clothes catch fire because she's gotten too close to the hearth. It is a well-written book, though, and true to the time.
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-honor
A little scared when I realized this was written by the same woman who wrote Hitty, her first hundred years, which I forced myself to finish. I was pleasantly surprised to be reading an interesting story of pioneer life in Maine. The bonus was that I was vacationing in Maine at the time, and thinking of the things early settlers had to contend with illuminated my understanding of the area.

"It was only by the next afternoon that Marguerite could get her swollen feet into her shoes and limp as far
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Calico Bush is the story of Marguerite, a French immigrant to the United States who is orphaned soon after her arrival. With no family to look after her, she becomes a bound out girl, contracted to the Sargent family for six years. As the Sargents work to settle their homestead in the Maine wilderness, under threat of violence from local American Indians, Marguerite, called Maggie, does her best to blend into the family and be of use to them,
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Marguerite has been orphaned and is now a "Bound Out" girl to the Sargent family for the next 6 years. The Sargents are settling in a new area, an area where there has been trouble with the Indians. Neighbors (living on nearby islands) warn the Sargents not to settle there, but they have paid money for the claim and are determined to settle there.

This realistically portrayed the difficulty of life in the mid 1700's. Marguerite suffers from negative stereotyping because of her French background
Apr 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
YA fiction about a 12-year-old French girl who is indentured to a pioneer family homesteading on the Maine coast. It's no "Little House," obviously, although it's chock full of offensive references to "Injuns." It's also no "Country of the Pointed Firs," though it is similarly evocative of the beauty of the wild Maine coast, just not as artful as Orne-Jewett. Despite its failings, I am a sucker for pioneer-themed YA and Calico Bush didn't disappoint in its descriptions of maple sugaring, log cab ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Remarkable in its depth.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Educational and a good read to boot.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: second-childhood
Steve Shilstone
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
In the 1740s, a family pioneers on the coast of Maine. Good middle grade novel with a well-drawn main character, the bonded servant Marguerite.
Wisdom Zelda
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gymnastics and Maggie

After my first year of gymnastics, I eagerly signed up for a gymnastics camp—what a fun week I’d have! However, although I loved the activities, I soon felt forsaken: only my roommate talked to me. I came back home with a strange mix of feelings: elated by the wonderful week of activities, but brokenhearted by the loneliness I experienced. Because of this experience, I feel a strong kinship with Maggie Ledoux, who not only experienced loneliness but also scorn.

Calico Bush, b
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This an historical novel set in 1743 Maine. Marguerit Ledoux is a 12-13 yr old bound-out girl, ie. an indentured servant to be freed at 18, who was "bought" from a poor house by the Sargent family to help them as they move from Marblehead to a homestead in the forests of Maine. It's a largish family, Dolly and Joel and his brother Ira, their children Caleb (13-14), the twins Becky and Susan (6), Patty (4), Jacob (3), and the baby Debbie. She has a dress and a pair of shoes, and mementos of her u ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this aloud to my daughter as part of our homeschool history curriculum. It's a realistic portrayal (including the language and prejudices) of what life might have been like during this time period settling a wild, remote location. While it's not my favorite of this genre, it's well done and enjoyable with a likeable heroine.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sonlight-core-d
It took us a little bit to get into this story but by the end my 9 yo daughter was sad for it to be over. She wanted to know what happened next.

There was a bit of French and Latin that wasn't ever translated and was slightly frustrating, but we could figure from context roughly what was being said.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an old book, but it tells an interesting tale of a family and their bound girl who leave the civilized area of the U.S. headed for Maine. They are to find a homestead and start life anew there. Indians, bad weather, neighbors are all involved. "Maggie" must find strengths she didn't know she had.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ok I do not know if it’s just me but it probably is. I did not like this book, it was really boring to me and I had a hard time reading this book! I rate this a two because it was really boring, but the writing was kind of good!

I think she did a great job with this book just I don’t think this book was for me!

Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this in Elementary school and loved it very much. This time I re-read it with Canon and we both enjoyed it. I would have given it 5 stars when I was in elementary school, and now maybe 4. love it!
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely old-fashioned story of pioneer days on the Maine coast.
If you're a fan of the Little House books, you'll enjoy this.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
It wasn't a particularly exciting read, but it was a good time-capsule of that time in American history. I enjoyed reading Hitty more.
Steve Ward
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery-award
This was an enjoyable book mostly about how harsh it was to live in the British colonies during the mid 1700’s. The story was filled with many adventures and sad tales of hardship so I think it should be read by kids ten and older.
Calico Bush by Rachel Field, illustrated by Allen Lewis is the story of 13 year old Marguerite Ledoux, an orphaned French girl, who travels to colonial Maine with the Sargent family as their bound-girl, where her courage and ability to withstand hardships becomes apparent. Lewis' wood engravings give an authentic feel to this historical novel.

Despite a text with several prejudicial references to "Injuns" and a rude comment about a cross-eyed person, which will offend modern sensibilities, Calico
First published in 1931, this book tells the story of Marguerite "Maggie" Ledoux, a 12-year-old French orphan who is bound-out to a Massachusetts family as they head up the coast to settle in Maine. The journey is difficult and though Marguerite is treated kindly, the Sargent family do not understand or like Marguerite's French ways and Marguerite feels like an outsider. when the family reaches the Maine coast, they learn of the hostilities between the Indians and the local settlers. Neighbors e ...more
A good story of the happenings and heartbreaks of a family who, in 1743, move from the colony of Massachusetts to the wild Maine coast, told from the viewpoint of a 12yo French girl, Marguerite. Marguerite is orphaned and living with her grandmother and uncle, but when they die soon after coming to the New World, she is left with no other option but to be bound to this family who will provide her with life's necessities in exchange for her labor until she turns eighteen.

All in all, I think this
Heather Hartling
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that follows Marguerite (Maggie), a "Bound-Out" girl from France, through 2 years with the Sargent's (the family she's serving). The book starts with the family's journey from the settled port of Marblehead to wild lands along the northern coast of Maine. The experiences of Marguerite are described so well it almost seems that you are there. An excellent read for children and adults alike.

Calico BushCalico Bush was a Newbery Honor Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and was
This book was a favorite when I was growing up, yet I eventually forgot the title. I always associated it with "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" since the storylines are similar - and I probably first read them around the same time. I tried several times to search for it online, but couldn't remember the author or title. I finally found it a few weeks ago by searching online lists of "If you liked The Witch of Blackbird Pond" and then reading a synopsis of any title I didn't recognize. The title "Ca ...more
Monica Fastenau
Mar 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Read the full review here:

The main character of this book, Maggie, gives the reader a window into early colonial life, complete with all its hardships. You’ll read about indentured servants, harsh weather, illness, death, and conflict with Native Americans (remember that this book was written in 1932, and thus has all the insensitivity you would expect from a book of that time). Although I don’t remember being traumatized by this book as a child, it is de
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: girls who like Laura Ingalls
Recommended to Michiel by: goodreads
I was pre-reading this book to see if it would fit into my son's homeschool curriculum this year. I ended up deciding not: it was a little slow moving and advanced for him. However, I really enjoyed it myself.

Marguerite is orphaned on her way to America from France. This is early in our country's history. She becomes an indentured servant by necessity, and is bound out to a family who settles in Maine back when it was a wilderness.

The story is divided by the seasons of the year. Maggie, as she i
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed some of this--the quiet, joyous, and brave tone and the moments of danger. Other parts I didn't like, such as superstitious things like thanking a tree so it will continue to grow and the countless prayers, as if said over a rosary (Marguerite's background was French Catholic) The Bible says: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7)

It could have been much worse overall, like focusing
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it
I wasn't a huge fan of Maggie's story. I found myself getting frustrated at how she was treated and how passive she seemed about the situation. I still don't understand or agree with her final decision, but I guess that makes the story for a lot of people.
I really enjoyed the Christmas scene with the Indian and the way Maggie was willing to make friends with those around her. I loved her relationship with the old neighbor lady, which was what kept me reading. Other than those parts, however, I
Lily C
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The book Calico Bush was about a young girl named Maggie who had to live with another family because she had no family left. The Sargent family, who took her in, was a rather large family. They settled on an island in Maine and had to face Indians. There could be an attack at any time. Maggie was always watching the young children, weaving clothing, or cooking dinner. There was never a moment of rest. Could she be the best addition to the Sargent family? The author, Rachel Field, did a wonderful ...more
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Rachel Lyman Field was an American novelist, poet, and author of children's fiction. She is best known for her Newbery Medal–winning novel for young adults, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, published in 1929.

As a child Field contributed to the St. Nicholas Magazine and was educated at Radcliffe College. Her book, Prayer for a Child, was a recipient of the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations by El
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