Keeper of the Doves (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Keeper of the Doves (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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by Betsy Byars

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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Amen McBee, born in 1891 and the fifth daughter of a fragile mother and father, who ardently wish for a son, searches for her place in the family and discovers a talent of her own. The novel is organized into 26 brie


FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Amen McBee, born in 1891 and the fifth daughter of a fragile mother and father, who ardently wish for a son, searches for her place in the family and discovers a talent of her own. The novel is organized into 26 brie

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In a boxed review, PW called this a "jewel-like novel. In tightly constructed scenes, the author slowly and fluidly unspools the small revelations that aid in the narrator's understanding of the [late-19th-century] world around her." Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Albert McBee named his four daughters at their birth—Abigail, Augusta, Arabella and Annabella. In 1891, when the fifth daughter is born, he pronounces, "Amen!" Thus, Amen McBee begins life and soon distinguishes herself among her sisters as someone who loves words. By age 6 she has written her first poem. Much of the story takes place when Amen is an 8 year old, as she tries to understand the relationship that her father has with Mr. Tominski, who is the keeper of the doves. This short novel has a memoir feel to it. The characters include a frequently pregnant mother, a scolding Aunt Pauline who serves as the children's caretaker and a loving, visiting grandmother who brings Kodak box cameras for everyone. Serious drama occurs with a wounded dog and a fatal accident, requiring that readers have an emotional readiness for a book that speaks of murder. The ending is uplifting and circular with Amen teaching words to her baby brother Adam. 2002, Viking,
— Jacki Vawter
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-7-Betsy Byars' family saga of one summer in the life of a family at the turn of the century is a simple story, but it contains a powerful message (Viking, 2002). The book's theme revolves around words, their beauty and their power to change lives. The tale is told by Amen, the youngest of six daughters in the McBee family, all of whose names begin with the letter A, as does their father's name. Their mother is a detached, reclusive woman named Lily, separated from the family by her delicacy and her name. The girls spend much time together, and are parented by their very much unloved Aunt Pauline. Amen, or Amie as she is called, is a "wordsmith" according to her grandmother, since she uses words and poems to understand and celebrate the world around her. She is introduced to the recluse, Mr. Tominski, who lives in their chapel, by her identical twin sisters who are known collectively as the Bellas. The twins delight in scaring Amie with their games, and they paint Mr. Tominski as a child-eating monster. Amie is intrigued by the man and his gentle way with the doves he has tamed. When a cruel remark by the Bellas causes Mr. Tominski to react with terror, Amie commemorates his life and his place in their family with a poem. The book's 26 short chapters each begin with a letter of the alphabet, and are filled with wonderful symbolism and symmetry. Cassandra Campbell reads Amen's words as dexterously as if they are poems, and her inflections reflect the assorted personalities of the McBee family. The result is a wonderful portrait of family life at the end of the 19th century, as well as a thought-provoking tale about judging people and the sometimes elusive quality of truth.-MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Sanval, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Betsy Byars, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, received a degree in English from Queens College there. Currently, she lives in Clemson, SC with her husband, a college professor. They have four grown children--one son and three daughters--and five grandchildren. "My own hobbies," Byars says, "are rather quiet. I like to read and do needlework, and I love animals. But my husband has some very interesting hobbies, and through him, I've learned to fly and earned my pilot's license. Together, we fly all over the United States. Since our children are all grown now, we also travel a great deal in Europe, but we take commercial flights because our plane is not really equipped to make transatlantic flights."

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Betsy Byars’ creation, Keeper of the Doves, is a beautiful, simple story with entertaining characters and teachable moments.  Amen (nickname “Amie”) McBee is a child who loves words while growing up in the shadows of her older sisters.  The chapters are in alphabetical order and supports Amen’s love of words.  Amen learns to forget the prejudices against the old Mr. Tominski who lives on the outskirts of the family’s land in a run-down chapel.  This book is a lesson for everyone to spend the time in order to know someone before judging the person.  It is a great summer read packed with life lessons for all ages. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Another girl! Not another girl? Don't tell me I've got another daughter!' Those were the first words Amen McBee heard when she was born. It was summer at the willows in 1899 and the Bella's (Amen's twin sisters), Abigal and Augusta (also sister's of Amen), and Mr Tominski are about to encounter some adventures that could turn their small world upside down. They will be faced with new inventions, death, and new people coming to their world. Amen herself has to witness the death, the birth, and the unforgiving anger. In this book the pages really fly and I really felt as though I were being sucked into the novel as it got more and more in depth and intenser. You other middle schoolers will have a greater sense of self after reading this book I guarantee it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very good and well written. It is about Amen and her pesky sisters mainly, the Bella's. But when Amen becomes curious about Mr. Tominski, the mysterious man who lives in the cemetary, the Bella's start telling her stories. They tell her things that frighten Amen, and makes her terrified of Mr. Tominski. But Amen soon learns the family history with Mr. Tominski, the keeper of the doves, and could change her feelings about him forever. I enjoyed this book very much! Some parts are suspensful and if you like that in a book, Keeper of the Doves could be a book for you. I felt like I was in the book, right there with Amen and some of her fears. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.