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The Ballad of Lucy Whipple [Paperback]

By Karen Cushman (Author)
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Item Number 161165  
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Item description for The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman...

Spunky California Morning, having renamed herself Lucy, begrudgingly records her family's adjustment to frontier life in an 1849 mining camp, during which she longs for books and vows to be miserable. Reprint.

Publishers Description
"Dear Gram and Grampop,
Please do not address yours truly as California anymore, California Morning Whipple being a foolish name for a duck much less a girl. I call myself Lucy now. I cannot hate California and be California. I know you will understand."California doesn't suit Lucy Whipple -- not the name, not the place. But moving out West to Lucky Diggins, California, was her mama's dream-come-true. And now her brother, Butte, and sisters, Prairie and Sierra, seem to be Westerners at heart, too. For Lucy, Lucky Diggins is hardly a town at all -- just a bunch of ramshackle tents and tobacco-spitting miners. Even the gold her mama claimed was just lying around in the fields isn't panning out. Worst of all, there's no lending library "Dag diggety "So Lucy vows to be plain miserable until she can hightail it back East where she belongs. But Lucy California Morning Whipple may be in for a surprise -- because home is a lot closer than she thinks...

When California Morning Whipple's widowed mother uproots her family from their comfortable Massachusetts environs and moves them to a rough mining camp called Lucky Diggins in the Sierras, California Morning resents the upheaval. Desperately wanting to control something in her own life, she decides to be called Lucy, and as Lucy she grows and changes in her strange and challenging new environment. Here Karen Cushman helps the American Gold Rush spring to colorful life, just as she did for medieval England in her previous two books, "Catherine, Called Birdy" and "The Midwife's Apprentice, " which won Newbery Honor status and a Newbery Medal respectively.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperTrophy
Pages   218
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 3, 1998
Publisher   HarperTrophy
Age  8-12
ISBN  0064406849  
ISBN13  9780064406840  
UPC  046594004956  

Availability  0 units.

More About Karen Cushman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Karen Cushman's first book, Catherine, Called Birdy, was a Newbery Honor Winner and her second, The Midwife's Apprentice, was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Karen Cushman currently resides in Oakland, in the state of California.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > United States > Fiction > 1800s
3Books > Subjects > Children > History & Historical Fiction > United States > Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life
6Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12
7Books > Subjects > Children > Literature
8Books > Subjects > Teens > Authors, A-Z > ( C ) > Cushman, Karen

Reviews - What do customers think about The Ballad of Lucy Whipple?

Looks good at the beginning. . .dissapointing read  Jul 22, 2006
I bought this book at a used book sale, having never read it beforehand. At first, it looked like a really good story, but as I read it further, it became more and more dissapointing with every page. While the descriptions of an 1840s California mining town are excellent, there isn't much else to praise about this book.
First of all are the kids'names, especially that of the main character, Lucy, whose real name is California Morning Whipple. No wonder she wanted to change her name -- California Morning Whipple sounds like some kind of a dessert. Her sibling's names -- Butte, Prairie, Sierra and Ocean, seem just as odd for the time frame in which the story is set.
Mrs. Whipple, unfortunately, comes off as a rather unlikeable character -- a stubborn, somewhat self-centered widow who drags her kids away from their comfortable, familiar Massachussets town and into a rough mining camp where there are no schools, libraries, or even other kids to play with. She's very hard on Lucy, annoyed by her daughter's constant reading, and she is rather unsympathetic about Lucy's homesickness. She also seems to have no apparent concerns over letting strange, rough men sleep in the same quarters as her kids - apparently, nobody worried about child molesters in those days.
Butte's fascination with collecting different words for liquor is also a bad idea in a book geared toward impressionable young readers -- it makes alcohol seem very appealing to kids. And the ending, too, is dissapointing. Throughout almost the whole book, you hear Lucy saying how badly she wants to return home to Massachussets, so much so that you want to see her get her wish. Then, just as it's about to happen, she decides that home is California, after all, and she stays put. Then, in a letter to her mother (who has remarried and moved to the Sandwich Islands with the rest of the family)Lucy says that home is where her family is, but she makes no effort, or shows no desire to rejoin them. Instead, she remains in California, by her own choice, and becomes a librarian.
While in some stories the "I-really-want-to-go-home-but-after-I've-been-here-for-a-while-I've-decided-that-I-really-am-home" plot works well for some stories, it failed miserably in this one. For the above reasons, I give this book one star.
The Misery of The Ballad of Lucy Whipple   Feb 7, 2006
I only completed four pages and I did not like this book. I thought this book is boring. Anyways, the book is inaccurate. A women during this period of time would not go all the way to California without a man, and East coast people were consider the proper folks of the day and would not have spoke in slang! The most inaccurate thing of all are the character's names. The people on the East coast would have never dreamed of naming there kids California, Butte, Prairie, Sierra, Golden Promise, and Ocean. Besides, the Prairie is in the midwest, the ocean has nothing to do with the west ( with the exception of the Pacific Ocean), and the Sierra Desert was not known about back than! These sound like Native American names, not proper English names.
This book could have been a success. I read Karen Cushman's background and it seems like she is trying to interest children in history. I think if she wants do that she should at least put accurate information in her books! I have read The Mid-Wife's Apprentice also by Karen Cushman, I thought that was much more accurate than this book. If Karen would have kept this book a little more true to history and geography it would be more enjoyable. You would not sit and worry about what is realistic and what is not. If you look at the copy write date it is 1996. I am guessing there are lots of books with the same plot. A girl who is almost a teenager crosses the United States because her parents want to search for gold in California and the girl doesn't want to leave her friends and family and move. If she would have changed this very popular unoriginal plot I think more children would have enjoyed it. I know I would and many of my friends would have been more likely to read a book with an original plot than a book with stale, boring plot.

This is Karen Cushman's worst work. I highly recommend save your money for something other book. Trust me, this book is a waste of paper and ink!
Great book, a lot of similes, descriptions. You really see the characters and what they are doing in your head. Not difficult to read. I cant say any more but PERFECT!!!
I hope this review will be useful to you, and

Walking Lucy's path  Oct 25, 2005
I think that "The Ballad of Lucy Whipple" is a very good book because of how clearly the author shows Lucy's personality within the book. Such as when Lucy states "Mama, that gold you claimed is lying in the fields around here must be hidden by all the lizards, dead leaves, and mule droppings, for I can't see a thing worth picking up and taking home." Lucy hates California at first, until she understands the true beauty of it at the end of the book.

I also enjoyed how the story sucks you into a whirlepool of adventure and another world so that you can put yourself in Lucy's shoes and walk her path in the story. Like when the author writes, "Small tents, shacks, and brush-covered lean-tos huddled along one bank of the river." and
"The air, heavy with heaty and dust, burned my nose and stung my eyes."

I recommend this book to people who love adventure, a little humor, and who aren't afraid of history. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple makes you laugh when you least expect it and gives you a taste of gold rush life.
What I think of Lucy's Ballad  Sep 30, 2005
I think that "The Ballad of Lucy Whipple" is a very good book because of how clearly the author shows Lucy's personality within the book. I also enjoyed how the story sucks you into a whirlepool of adventure and another world so that you can put yourself in Lucy's shoes and walk her path in the story. I recommend this book to people who love adventure, a little humor, and who aren't afraid of history.

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