The ballad of Lucy Whipple

Author Cushman, Karen.
Language English
Publisher
Boston: Sandpiper, 2012




Annotation:

10 years and up.



Subjects :

  • Juvenile fiction
  • Fiction
  • Family life
  • Frontier and pioneer life

Back to Top

Author Illustrator(s) :

Back to Top

Best Books :

  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 12th Edition, 1999 National Council of Teachers of English
  • American Booksellers Pick of the Lists, Fall, 1996 American Booksellers Association
  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 1996 Bank Street College of Education
  • Booklist Book Review Stars, Aug. 1996 American Library Association
  • Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 1996 American Library Association
  • Books to Read Aloud to Children of All Ages, 2003 Bank Street College of Education
  • Children's Books, 1996 New York Public Library
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Literature Choice List, 1997 Children's Literature
  • Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 1996 Cahners
  • Eureka! California in Children's Literature, 2003 Book Wholesalers, Inc.
  • Instructor (Intermediate), 1996 Instructor (Intermediate)
  • Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1996
  • Lasting Connections, 1996 Book Links
  • Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 H.W. Wilson
  • Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 H.W. Wilson
  • Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 1997 NCTE Children's Literature Assembly
  • Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of the Social Studies, 1996 National Council for the Social Studies NCSS
  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 1996 Cahners
  • School Library Journal Best Books, 1997 Cahners
  • School Library Journal Book Review Stars, August 1996 Cahners
  • Teachers' Choices, 1997 International Reading Association
  • Read Alouds Too-Good-To-Miss , 1997 Indiana Library Federation

Back to Top

Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 1997 Winner United States
  • Friends of Children and Literature (FOCAL) Award, 1998 Winner United States
  • John and Patricia Beatty Award, 1997 Winner United States

Back to Top

State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award Reading List, 1998-1999; Nominee Arkansas
  • Indian Paintbrush Book Award, 2000; Nominee Wyoming
  • Lone Star Reading List, 1998-1999; Texas
  • Maine Student Book Award, 1997-1998; Nominee Maine
  • Mark Twain Award, 1998-1999; Nominee Missouri
  • Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 1997-1998; Nominee Massachusetts
  • MRA Reader's Choice Award, 2000; Nominee Michigan
  • Nevada Young Readers' Award, 1998; Nominee Nevada
  • Nutmeg Children's Book Award, 2000; Nominee Connecticut
  • South Carolina Junior Book Award, 1999; Nominee South Carolina
  • Utah Children's Book Awards, 1999; Nominee Utah
  • William Allen White Children's Book Award, 1998-1999; Master List Kansas

Back to Top

Reading Measurement Programs:


0395728061
Clarion Books (New York:) 1996.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Middle Grade
Book Level 5.8
Accelerated Reader Points 7

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Accelerated Reader Points 11


9780064406840, 0064406849
HarperTrophy (New York:) 1996.

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 1030
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level 6-8
Reading Level 6
Accelerated Reader Points 11

Back to Top

Reviews :

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, Aug. 1996 (Vol. 92, No. 22))
With zest and wit, Cushman gives us the domestic side of the western frontier adventure--what it was like for women and especially children. Just as in her Newbery Medal winner and Honor Book about medieval England, her hero is a young girl who names herself and tries to find her place in a rough, raucous world. Lucy tells her story in the first person and in occasional letters to her grandparents back "home" in Massachusetts: how she hates being stuck out in the California wilderness with her bossy, widowed mother, who dragged her family there and is running a boardinghouse for bellowing miners in a town knee-deep in dirt. Cushman's research shows at times, but there's joy in the daily details (bread made with flour and water, with a drop of molasses to kill the taste of weevils) and in the tall-tale exaggeration of Lucy's narrative (she lives in a space so small "I can lie in bed and stir the beans on the stove without getting up" ). There's sadness, too, as when her younger brother becomes sick and dies, and there's no doctor to help. In fact, the tone is reminiscent of Chaplin's movie The Gold Rush, with its mixture of farce and pathos. Many readers will recognize their own dislocations in Lucy's reluctant adventure. In a vividly written afterword, Cushman places Lucy's personal narrative in its historical context. Category: Middle Readers. 1996, Clarion, $13.95. Gr. 5-8. Starred Review.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Jan Lieberman (Children's Literature)
The women of the gold rush were resourceful, hardworking, adventurous and unappreciated. Karen Cushman lets us experience the life of one family in The Ballad of Lucy Whipple. Mrs Whipple, a widow, arrives in the shabby mining town of Lucky Diggins with her 4 children. To make ends meet, she opens a boarding house where her daily life is nothing but hard work and her only helper is her daughter Lucy, aka California, the eldest of the 4 children. Lucy, an avid reader, would rather spend time under a tree writing letters and reading. She is feisty, and obsessed with her dream of returning "home" to Massachusetts. But this is a ballad and like all ballads this will be read and reread to savor the moments of joy, sadness, humor, tenderness, and love in the life of the Whipples. 1996, Clarion, $13.95. Ages 10 up.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature)
In the summer, it is hot and dusty; the land is so parched that water has to be hauled to keep the vegetable garden from shriveling up. In the winter it is freezing cold with icicles hanging down from the tent after a freezing rain. That's the way it is in the gold fields of California where Lucy and her family are trying to find their own new lives after their Pa died. Lucy longs for Massachusetts, but her mother seems to thrive on the challenge offered by life in the West. Lots of interesting characters and descriptions of the hard life facing the miners and others whose livelihoods are part of the gold fever make for an amusing and informative look at California and the struggles of one girl to find herself and a place to call home. 1996, Clarion, $13.95. Ages 11 up.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1996)
The recent Newbery medalist plunks down two more strong-minded women, this time in an 1849 mining camp--a milieu far removed from the Middle Ages of her first novels, but not all that different when it comes to living standards. Arvella Whipple and her three children, Sierra, Butte, and 11-year-old California Morning, make a fresh start in Lucky Diggins, a town of mud, tents, and rough-hewn residents. It's a far cry from Massachusetts; as her mother determinedly settles in, California rebelliously changes her name to Lucy and starts saving every penny for the trip back east. Ever willing to lose herself in a book when she should be doing errands, Lucy is an irresistible teenager; her lively narration and stubborn, slightly naive self-confidence (as well as a taste for colorful invective: "Gol durn, rip-snortin' rumhole and cussed, dad-blamed, dag diggety, thundering pisspot," she storms) recall the narrator of Catherine, Called Birdy (1994), without seeming as anachronistic. Other characters are drawn with a broader brush, a shambling platoon of unwashed miners with hearts (and in one case, teeth) of gold. Arvella eventually moves on, but Lucy has not only lost her desire to leave California, but found a vocation as well: town librarian. With a story that is less a period piece than a timeless and richly comic coming-of-age story, Cushman remains on a roll. 1996, Clarion, $13.95. Starred Review. © 1996 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

K. Millburg (Parent Council Volume 4)
Lucy has unwillingly come with mother and her brother and sisters to Lucky Diggins, California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Lucy is miserable living in the tents among the dirty, rough miners. All she really wants is to return home to Massachusetts to her grandparents and books. This historical fiction presents a fascinating time in our history through the eyes of a child. 1996, Clarion Books, $13.95. Ages 8 to 12.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
In a voice so heartbreakingly bitter that readers can taste her homesickness, California Morning Whipple describes her family's six-year stay in a small mining town during the Gold Rush. Her mother, a restless widow with an acid tongue, has uprooted her children from their home in Massachusetts to make a new life in Lucky Diggins. California rebels by renaming herself Lucy and by hoarding the gold dust and money she earns baking dried apple and vinegar pies, saving up for a journey home. Over years of toil and hardship, Lucy realizes, somewhat predictably, that home is wherever she makes one. As in her previous books, Newbery Award winner Cushman (The Midwife's Apprentice) proves herself a master at establishing atmosphere. Here she also renders serious social issues through sharply etched portraits: a runaway slave who has no name of his own, a preacher with a congregation of one, a raggedy child whose arms are covered in bruises. The writing reflects her expert craftsmanship; for example, Lucy's brother Butte, dead for lack of a doctor, is eulogized thus: "He was eleven years old, could do his sums, and knew fifty words for liquor." A coming-of-age story rich with historical flavor. Ages 10-14. (Aug.)
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 1996 (Vol. 50, No. 1))
Bodaciously sorrow-burdened and wretched," California Morning Whipple has been transported by her free-spirited, widowed mother to Lucky Diggins, California, where they will run a boarding house out of an oversized tent; California Morning (call her "Lucy," please) intends to return to the home of her civilized New England relatives just as soon as she can sell enough pies to earn her coach fare. As Lucy pours out her miseries in letters to grandparents and aunts and cousins, the reader quickly recognizes the girl's kinship with the less-than-couth 49ers she initially despises and senses from her feisty narration ("I liked writing letters. There wasn't much else to do for fun in Lucky Diggins if you didn't dig or drink") that she will eventually put down roots here. Over the course of three years, Lucy matures from adolescent to young woman, loses a brother and gains a stepfather; Lucky Diggins itself booms and burns, and its itinerant population commits to making the settlement into a town. While Cushman delicately limns the ever-strengthening bond between Lucy and her new home, the episodic story lacks momentum, and the host of intriguing characters (a runaway slave, an abused neighbor girl, the amorous Gent who woos but fails to win Lucy's mother) who influence her decision to stay are shallowly developed. Surely the death of brother Butte and Mama's departure with her new husband could have been more touching had the reader been afforded the opportunity to know them better. Still, the audience wholeheartedly shares Lucy's satisfaction when at last she smells "burned beans and mules and privies . . . as familiar as morning" and proudly reclaims her birth name, California Morning Whipple. Ad--Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1996, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1996, Clarion, [208p], $14.95. Grades 5-7.
(PUBLISHER: Clarion Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
PW gave a starred review to this gold-rush novel by Newbery Medalist Cushman, calling it "a coming-of-age story rich with historical flavor." Ages 8-12. (May)
(PUBLISHER: HarperTrophy (New York:), PUBLISHED: c1996.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
In the summer of 1849, Lucy Whipple’s mother packs up her household and her two young children, and leaves their home in Massachusetts for the gold fields of California. Moving is the last thing the outspoken twelve-year-old, Lucy, wants to do. Reaching California, the Whipples set up a crude boardinghouse, and Lucy is put to work washing, cleaning, and baking pies in the rough mining town of Lucky Diggins. There are no books, no school--nothing but dust and drunken miners. With each day, the homesick Lucy is more and more determined to take life into her own hands and return to New England. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is her firsthand account of her struggles in a rough and tumble land. Newbery Award-winning author Karen Cushman paints a vivid picture of life in the gold fields. Dispelling the idea that only men went there to seek their fortune, Cushman focuses on the women and families who created homes and towns from a harsh landscape. Karen Cushman’s other books include Catherine, Called Birdy (RB# 94861) and The Midwife’s Apprentice (RB# 94778). n.d., Recorded Books, Unabridged CD - Library Edition; C2100, $51.75. Ages 10 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books Unabridged CD- Library Edition; C2100 $51.75., PUBLISHED: n.d.)

Paul E. Ferrari (Audiofile, January 1998)
Arvilla Whipple is a pioneer adventurer to the bone, but her 12-year-old daughter, Lucy, is decidedly not. She is a Massachusetts girl transplanted to the 1849 Gold Rush town of Lucky Diggins, which has absolutely nothing lucky about it. Reader Christina Moore's harsh, plaintive voice suits perfectly Cushman's wry, outspoken narrator, and none of Lucy's irony and sharp tongue is lost. Moore is equally effective voicing the wide range of Gold Rush types whom Lucy meets in her struggle to return to the sanity of Massachusetts. Oddly, though, what starts out as rebellion turns into the discovery of a different kind of gold for Lucy, and it's made of far richer, more enduring stuff than mere metal. P.E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine Unabridged. 1997 (orig. 1996), Recorded Books. Ages 13 up.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick Md.:), PUBLISHED: p1997.)

Sheila H. Williams (KLIATT Review, January 1998 (Vol. 32, No. 1))
This story follows a struggling family, specifically a young woman, in an historical setting. After her husband dies, Mrs. Whipple of Massachusetts packs up and moves her children (named Butte, California, Prairie and Ocean) to the gold fields of California. Unwilling to share her name with a place she doesn't like at all, California insists on being called Lucy. Lucy spends her days washing, cleaning and baking pies in the rough boarding house in the town of Luck Diggins. With only her copy of Ivanhoe to comfort her, she fantasizes about how she can return to Massachusetts and the life she once led. She tries earning money from the motley assortment of gold diggers for her return passage, but something always happens to interfere with her plans. Moore reads with a dry and ironic delivery, conveying the realistic crankiness of characters forced together under stressful conditions. Recommended for recreational listening and possible curriculum support. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1997 (orig. 1996), Recorded Books, 4 tapes, 4.75 hrs. #95030.; Sturdy vinyl binder; plot notes., $34.00. Ages 12 to 18.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick Md.:), PUBLISHED: p1997.)

Recorded Books (Recorded Books, LLC.)
In the summer of 1849, Lucy Whipple’s mother packs up her household and her two young children, and leaves their home in Massachusetts for the gold fields of California. Moving is the last thing the outspoken twelve-year-old, Lucy, wants to do. Reaching California, the Whipples set up a crude boardinghouse, and Lucy is put to work washing, cleaning, and baking pies in the rough mining town of Lucky Diggins. There are no books, no school--nothing but dust and drunken miners. With each day, the homesick Lucy is more and more determined to take life into her own hands and return to New England. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple is her firsthand account of her struggles in a rough and tumble land. Newbery Award-winning author Karen Cushman paints a vivid picture of life in the gold fields. Dispelling the idea that only men went there to seek their fortune, Cushman focuses on the women and families who created homes and towns from a harsh landscape. Karen Cushman’s other books include Catherine, Called Birdy (RB# 94861) and The Midwife’s Apprentice (RB# 94778). n.d., Recorded Books, Unabridged Cassette - Library Edition; 95030, $41.75. Ages 10 to 14.
(PUBLISHER: Recorded Books (Prince Frederick Md.:), PUBLISHED: p1997.)

Back to Top

Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Boston: Sandpiper, 2012

Media Type: Language Material
195 p. ;
PZ7.C962 ([Fic])
9780547722153
054772215X
London: Macmillan Children's, 2002

Media Type: Language Material
185 p. ;
(813.54)
0330398326
9780330398329
Originally published Clarion 1996.
London: Macmillan Children's Books, 1997

Media Type: Language Material
193 p. ;
(813.54)
0330351087
9780330351089
Formerly CIP.
Originally published New York N.Y.: Clarion 1996.
Prince Frederick Md.: Recorded Books, 1997

Media Type: Nonmusical Sound Recording
5 sound discs (4 hr. 45 min.):
PZ7.C962 (808.899/282)
1402549636
0788708929
9780788708923
9781402549632
"With tracks every 3 minutes for easy book marking."-Container.
"Unabridged Fiction."-Container.
In container (23 cm.).
New York: HarperTrophy, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
195 p.
CPB Box no. 1297 vol. 1
0064406849
9780064406840
New York: Clarion Books, 1996

Media Type: Language Material
195 p. ;
PZ7.C962 ([Fic])
0395728061
9780395728062
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers, 96

Media Type: Language Material
208
(813.5/4)
9780547532882
0547532881
Recorded Books Unabridged CD- Library Edition; C2100 $51.75.,

Media Type:

9781402549625
1402549628

Back to Top