Black-Eyed Susan

( 1 )

Overview

A lyrical novel about a day in the life of a young pioneer girl growing up on the Dakota prairie is now available in a Knopf Paperback edition. This widely praised and beautifully crafted tale deftly evokes the vast expanse of the American West, the hardships faced by pioneer families, and the strong bonds of family and community.

Ten-year-old Susie and her father love living on the South Dakota prairie with its vast, uninterrupted views of land and sky, but Susie's...

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Overview

A lyrical novel about a day in the life of a young pioneer girl growing up on the Dakota prairie is now available in a Knopf Paperback edition. This widely praised and beautifully crafted tale deftly evokes the vast expanse of the American West, the hardships faced by pioneer families, and the strong bonds of family and community.

Ten-year-old Susie and her father love living on the South Dakota prairie with its vast, uninterrupted views of land and sky, but Susie's mother greatly misses their old life in Ohio.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Told in a highly readable text that is almost poetic at times, the story has a satisfying roundness that will elicit contented sighs from young readers."—The Horn Book
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ten-year-old Susie revels in the natural beauty of the vast prairie surrounding her family's sodhouse in the Dakota Territory, but her mother-depressed and homesick for her native Ohio-refuses to go outdoors. In Armstrong's (King Crow; Steal Away) characteristically lyrical language, Susie ponders her mother's "lonesomeness": "Perhaps it had been growing like a seed, and was blooming at last with a pale flower and a sad perfume. All I knew was that Ma never laughed anymore, hardly spoke, seldom smiled." On a trip to town with her father, Susie futilely combs the mercantile for "something cheerful" for her mother. Ma brightens up a bit that evening, when a warm, merry family of Montana-bound homesteaders from Iceland spends the night, giving a canary as a gift. And in the dramatic concluding scene, Susie convinces the woman to come out on the roof of their home to greet the rising sun. With her prairie setting and poetic narrative, Armstrong steps into Patricia MacLachlan territory, but her footing is less sure. While the novel is illuminating in its view of a pioneer family, its many descriptive passages and reminiscences leave the work short on action and too slow-moving for most readers in the targeted age group. Ages 9-14. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This novel basically encompasses 24 hours in the life of a 10-year-old homesteader. Susan shares her father's love of the beautiful prairie of the Dakota territory. She revels in the vast landscape that unfolds before her with the dawning of each day. However, she is concerned about her mother`s increasing loneliness and despondency. The woman rarely leaves the family's sodhouse and feels cut off from the world she knew in Ohio. In the end, Susan helps her begin to change her attitude. This book gives interesting insight into the psychological problems of homesteaders. Susan seems to be well adjusted, but shows understanding of her mother's plight. Armstrong's elegant, spare prose is readable and evocatively re-creates the time and place. Her characters are exceptionally well developed for such a short text. All in all, a good story and a nice complement to the ``Little House'' series (HarperCollins).-Margaret B. Rafferty, Gwinnett-Forsyth Regional Library, GA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679885566
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 361,897
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.73 (w) x 5.22 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Ever since the first grade, Jennifer Armstrong knew that she would become an author. She loved making up stories and sharing them with others. Her family treasured books and this led her to become an avid reader of all types of fiction. It was no surprise when she chose to study English and American Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts.

Armstrong is the author of over 50 books for children from kindergarten through high school. Best known for writing historical fiction, she has also been successful in creating picture books, easy readers, chapter books, young adult novels, as well as nonfiction.

Armstrong, who grew up outside of New York City, now lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Jennifer Armstrong is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Many of her books have been designated as Notable Books by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association.

For more information on Jennifer Armstrong, visit her website at www.jennifer-armstrong.com, or read her blog at www.jennifer-armstrong.blogspot.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    A great book

    Black-Eyed Susan is a story about a girl that likes to go outside every morning to see the sun rise and the clouds tumble. Her mother has a problem with depression. Her mom doesn¿t share her joy with anyone and she wants to leave the family to be by her self. At the end of the story, Susan talks to her mom and tells her that Susan needs her and that she loves her. Then her mom started to cry and than she does not leave and she stays home. After that her mom and Susan, both go outside in t he morning and they see the sun rise together. Susan is so happy. Jennifer, Armstrong¿s characters have sad feeling in the story. Susan and her mother do not talk and her mom wants to leave the family and her problems. I would resolve it by talking to that person, and the author did a great job with Susan by having her tell her mom how she felt and that she needed her. My feeling about how everything turned out with her mom was that it was sad at first because she wanted to leave, but then I was happy because her mom and Susan were back together. By the end, her mom shares her joy with her daughter and everyone. She starts talking and hanging out with everyone. I like that end of the story because everyone was happy at the end, even SUSAN! Black-Eyed Susan is a good story. If you want to know how good this book is then read it and find it!

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