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New Dawn on Rocky Ridge (Little House the Rose Years


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Gr 4-6‘This warm, comfortable narrative continues the story of Rose Wilder's life from age 13 through 16 in Mansfield, Missouri, with her parents Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder. Written by Rose's adopted grandson and heir, the book draws heavily from the woman's recollections of her own life and the stories her mother told her. It begins with the people of Mansfield celebrating the turn of the century. Much is made throughout the book of technological and social progress, as life changes ever more rapidly. Rose finds herself falling in love with Paul, who has been her best friend and who, being older, leaves town to work in Iowa as a telegrapher. The puzzle of relationships with the opposite sex is a continuing theme, whether in Rose's feelings for Paul, an old-maid school teacher being strung along by the local playboy, or Rose's friend who takes up with a "traveling man." Historical context is important to the story, from changing dress fashions to the dawn of socialism. Rose's aunt E.J., an early feminist, is an especially intriguing character. All of the figures are well drawn and engaging. Laura's return to South Dakota to tend to her dying father will tug at the heartstrings of readers who enjoyed the "Little House" books. MacBride's narrative is heavily episodic, as was Ingalls's; indeed, the style is a near match, and makes this a worthy continuation of that series. It stands alone as well, as an insightful portrait of a teenage girl in the earliest 1900s, with feelings and experiences not so different from those of the 1990s.‘Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS

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