Adaline Falling Star

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After the death of her mother, Adaline is sent to live in St. Louis while her father—the famous scout Kit Carson—explores the West. Yearning for the faraway world of her mother's people and desperate for proof of her father's love, Adaline flees the home of her cruel relatives to forge her own course through the wilderness. When she allows an abandoned dog to join her on the trail, and to enter her heart, everything she ever knew about love and...
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After the death of her mother, Adaline is sent to live in St. Louis while her father—the famous scout Kit Carson—explores the West. Yearning for the faraway world of her mother's people and desperate for proof of her father's love, Adaline flees the home of her cruel relatives to forge her own course through the wilderness. When she allows an abandoned dog to join her on the trail, and to enter her heart, everything she ever knew about love and loyalty is put to the test.

Feeling abandoned by her deceased Arapaho mother and her explorer father, Adaline Falling Star runs away from the prejudiced cousins with whom she is staying and comes close to death in the wilderness, with only a mongrel dog for company.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Osborne (The Magic Tree) strikes out in a new direction in this assured novel based on a real, though little-known character: the daughter of Kit Carson and his Arapaho wife. As the story opens, 11-year-old narrator Adaline has lost her mother to fever, and her father has deposited her with pious relatives in St. Louis while he heads west on a scouting expedition. "Hold your tongue, darter, was Pa's last words of advice, and ever since, I been as quiet as a rabbit in the grass," notes the normally outspoken girl. Though Adaline knows how to read, her father's cousin assumes she's ignorant and mute and puts her to work instead of enrolling her in his school. Her intolerant Christian relatives tap into historical stereotypes (Cousin Silas introduces Adaline as having a "devilish mixture of white and Indian blood"; his daughter, Lilly, tells Adaline, "You must have done some sinning before you were born, or you wouldn't have been born half red"). Readers may well breathe a sigh of relief when the second half of the novel takes a Huck Finn-esque turn, as Adeline heads downriver in search of her father. Vivid historical detail and descriptive prose ("my heart beats like it's filled with bird wings") fuel the narrative. Adaline possesses a wisdom marked by an often heartbreaking sense of humor. Ages 9-14. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly
In this novel based on a real 11-year-old who lost her mother to fever and was deposited with relatives in St. Louis, "vivid historical detail and descriptive prose fuel the narrative," wrote PW. "Adaline possesses a wisdom marked by an often heartbreaking sense of humor." Ages 9-12. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
This historical novel tells the story of Kit Carson's daughter Adaline. Carson did have a daughter with an Arapaho woman, but little is known of her after she was sent to live with relatives in St. Louis. In Osborne's vision, she is an intelligent, strong, and determined young woman who refuses to accept her life as a little better than a slave. When she believes her father is not coming back, she runs away. Adaline's struggle to survive along the river is realistic, but more appealing to readers is her struggle to resist the dog she finds in the woods. She accepts its company, even as she declares, "I ain't going to love him." Readers will feel her pain when she must leave the dog behind in order to get her work on a steamboat going upriver. Kit Carson's reappearance after the steamboat explodes is a trifle convenient, but overall this is a solid and artistic historical fiction. Genre: Historical Fiction/Survival 2000, Scholastic, 170 pp., $16.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Ellen A Greever; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Loosely rooted in the historical presence of one of the West's well-known scouts, Adaline Falling Star tells the fictional account of Kit Carson and his daughter, Adaline. Called to help lead an expedition under General John C. Fremont, Carson leaves his daughter in St. Louis, Missouri with his cousin, a school teacher, believing that the man and his family will offer Adaline an education as well as a home since her Arapaho mother died of cholera. But Carson's cousin didn't know that Adaline was a "half-breed," and he is disgusted by her. Believing her to be mute and stupid, Cousin Silas makes Adaline his slave both in the classroom and in his home while his family works hard at "washing the stain of Indian blood" out of Adaline. With the help of the family's African-American slave, Adaline decides to run away to find her father. Her exciting adventures will absorb listeners. Elaina Erika Davis's reading of Mary Pope Osborne's book (Scholastic, 2000) captures Adaline's spunk and tenacity. Her child-like tone adds authenticity to the first-person narration. Be advised that some organizations have cautioned against the authenticity of the plot, declaring that Osborne did not accurately portray Arapaho traditions and customs. For example, Adaline slashes her body after her mother dies; however, children did not practice this form of grief ritual in the Arapaho tribe. Although listeners will enjoy the plot, carefully consider adding this title to your collection.-Sarah Prielipp, Chippewa River District Library, Mt. Pleasant, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807204306
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 2 Cassettes, 2 hrs. 40 min.
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.46 (w) x 7.08 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pope Osborne
Perhaps best known for her Magic Tree House series (Listening Library) Mary Pope Osborne is the author of many distinguished books, in almost every genre. A past president of the Author's Guild, she lives in New York City with her husband, Will.


Ever since 1992, Mary Pope Osborne has been thrilling kids everywhere with her delightfully exciting Magic Tree House series. The globetrotting escapades of time travelers Jack and Annie are brimming with adventure and magic (not to mention some subtly placed lessons on history and geography). With a life like Osborne's, it's only natural that she would be capable of bringing such wondrous stories to life.

Osborne was brought up in a military family, and her parents' work led to a lifestyle marked by constant change. "By the time I was 15," she says on, "I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina." While many kids would probably feel disoriented by such constant change, Osborne wouldn't have had it any other way. "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was. When my dad finally retired to a small town in North Carolina, I nearly went crazy with boredom. I craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life."

And adventure is exactly what Osborne got! After college, she embarked on a series of daring treks across the globe that would surely give Jack and Annie a run for their money. "For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete," she said. "Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to 'The East.' We traveled through 11 Asian countries and nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then in a riot in Kabul."

Following an illness she contracted in Katmandu, Osborne returned home to the U.S. trying her hand at a vast variety of jobs: window dresser, medical assistant, Russian travel consultant, waitress, bartender, and an assistant editor at a children's magazine. Although Osborne had unconsciously moved closer toward her ultimate career, she says that her first attempts at writing seemed to come without warning. "One day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an 11-year-old girl in the South," she recalls. "The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my became a young adult novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. Finally, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up."

She sure did! Since then, Osborne has penned a slew of stories, including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade biographies, and young adult novels; but she is indisputably best known for her wonderful Magic Tree House books, a happy hodge-podge of history and mystery with a time travel theme kids find irresistible. No doubt inspired by Osborne's own highly adventurous life, these exiting expeditions have attracted droves of children and pleased educators by combining compulsively readable storytelling with useful facts about geography and history.

As was written of the series in Children's Literature, "Mary Pope Osborne provides nicely paced excitement for young readers, and there's just enough information mixed in so that children will take away some historical fact along with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a chapter book." As much as Osborne has certainly pleased her readers (not to mention their parents and teachers), perhaps no one is quite as pleased as she. "I'm one of those very lucky people who absolutely loves what they do for a living," she explained. "There is no career better suited to my eccentricities, strengths, and passions than that of a children's book author."

Good To Know

A few fascinating outtakes from our interview with Osborne:

"One of the most defining experiences of my life was traveling overland in an old van through the Middle East and Asia in the early 1970's. One day, when a small group of us were camped in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, we saw a woman riding horseback over the sloping plain. Her long brown hair floated on the wind and she wore a bright gypsy-style dress. When she got closer, I realized she was one of my roommates from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill! Though I didn't even know she'd left the U.S.—and she didn't know I was in Afghanistan, we weren't that surprised to come upon each other. That says a lot about the times we were living in then."

"After 26 years of living in New York City, my husband Will and I now spend most of our time in Northwestern Connecticut, living in a house that overlooks a lake. We kayak and hike with our two Norfolk terriers, Joey and Mr. Bezo. Will's learning Italian, and I've been working with a tutor for two years trying to understand Dante's Divine Comedy. One of my biggest hobbies is reading philosophy and theology. We spend lots of time, of course, on our work. After writing three shows for the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina, Will's writing a musical based on the Magic Tree House series. I'm writing book # 38 in the series. I also spend a lot of time with my sister Natalie Pope Boyce who works on the Magic Tree House Research Guides. Natalie and our nephews and some of our best friends live nearby in the Berkshires Hills of Massachusetts, so we're up there a lot, too. My only complaint is there is not enough time to do all I want to do. For instance, I'd love to take drawing classes and I'd love to paint the lake we're living on. And I'd love to bird watch and become a better cook and learn about classical music. Maybe sometime in the future...."

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    1. Hometown:
      Goshen, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 20, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Sill, Oklahoma
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of North Carolina
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007

    What a great book!

    This book was awesome!!! I loved how Adaline was allowed to keep the dog because she grew to close to it!! This book was sad at times but FANTASTIC!!!! 5 STARS!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2004


    wow, this book was really good. It was sad that the kids were kind of prejudice of her. But the overall story was awesome:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2004

    On my top ten list!

    It's one of my favorite stories ever!!! This book is the greatest--a must read!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003

    An Awesome Story

    This book is one of my all time favorutes! I would recomend it to any one who likes to read. This story made me apprieciate every one around me a lot more, including my dog! Read this book and you will agree!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2002


    This is my favorite Mary Pope Osborne book. A great story about a young Native-American girl's hard life. Her mother died and her father at war. Adaline's sent to live with cousins who despise her because of her color. A truely touching story.

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