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Hattie Big Sky

Review

Hattie Big Sky

In HATTIE BIG SKY readers meet a heroic 16-year-old who braves frontier life, prejudice against her friends, bullies and more as she forges a future for herself by homesteading in Montana in 1917. The book is based on an ancestor of author Kirby Larson, who researched the time and story to bring to life this dramatic tale that will touch every emotion.

Hattie, whose parents died when she was very young, is tired of being shuffled from one reluctant relative to another. So when a letter arrives from an uncle she has never met, inviting her to maintain his homesteading claim in Montana, she jumps at the chance. Never mind that she doesn't know how to build fences and will be living in a tiny shack. She finally will have a home that is her own.

Each step of the way Hattie writes to her friend Charlie, who is off fighting the war in France. He was one of the few who befriended her back in Iowa, where she lived with a distant uncle before embarking on this journey.

When she arrives in Montana, she is picked up by Perilee and Karl. Her uncle passed away before she could see him, but these two neighbors help her find her footing. She arrives in the winter, and on her second day, Chase, Perilee's son, rescues Hattie after she freezes her hands to the pump handle.

Soon she overcomes the weather and learns to farm, quilt, help neighbors and more. When she arrived she disdained her smelly neighbor, Rooster Jim, but she grows fond of his chess-playing visits and his support. She finds that people begin to shun Karl for being German, though he is fully American now.

The handsome wealthy son of a prominent family tries to court Hattie, but she is not interested. Charlie has had her heart for years, even if he doesn't seem to know.

Several hardships and even a tragedy strike Hattie, but she begins to realize that she doesn't need the land itself. It is friends who help her through the tough times and give her hope. Readers who grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder will love HATTIE BIG SKY, though Hattie also will draw new fans to this inspiring, powerful tale.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on September 26, 2006

Hattie Big Sky
by Kirby Larson

  • Publication Date: December 26, 2007
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0440239419
  • ISBN-13: 9780440239413