Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
2014 Bluestem Nominee
Audience: Elementary School
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Emily was raised a prim and proper girl in Miss Luella Nash's manor where her mother was a maid. But after the death of Miss Luella and Emily's mother, she is left all alone with nothing but advice from her neighbor's, Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim, and Mrs. Fire. The neighbor ladies are all ready to put Emily on a train to Redbud to live with her aunt, but the Catchum Child Catchers come a callin' and suddenly, Emily is on the run. She meets up with another orphan named Jackson and the two work to evade the child catchers, and Emily's tough Uncle Victor. There is plenty of rootin', tootin' fun in this book about the old west and finding family.
Emily's transformation from proper, quiet girl to brave and tough is quite remarkable. Readers will be cheering toward the end, and thankful for all the help and lucky breaks that she gets along the way. Each chapter ends with a bold faced cliffhanger in an old-west type of dialect. This addition would make for a fun read aloud for classes. Students could repeat after the teacher and learn a few interesting ways to express amazement.
This book reminded me somewhat of The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman with the mistaken identity and running from danger. Plus, the covers are a little similar too.
See what I mean?
I like this book as a Bluestem. It has plenty of action and appeal to both boys and girls. Like I said, I think it would be a great classroom read-aloud too. And while the history isn't entirely educational, the setting is fun and historic, so students could mix some parts of this story into a project on stagecoaches and the Wild West.
All things considered, Emily's Fortune is a fun story, full of action, with a satisfying ending. Readers will love it.