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Kitty and Mr. Kipling: Neighbors in Vermont
     

Kitty and Mr. Kipling: Neighbors in Vermont

by Lenore Blegvad, Erik Blegvad (Illustrator), Erik Blegvad (Illustrator)
 
In 1892 world-famous English author Rudyard Kipling and his wife come to live in Dummerston, Vermont, and everything changes for young Kitty, who lives on a neighboring farm.

Kitty is curious about and fascinated by the Kiplings. She realizes at once that she has never met -- nor will she ever again meet -- as interesting a man as Rudyard Kipling. He's full of

Overview

In 1892 world-famous English author Rudyard Kipling and his wife come to live in Dummerston, Vermont, and everything changes for young Kitty, who lives on a neighboring farm.

Kitty is curious about and fascinated by the Kiplings. She realizes at once that she has never met -- nor will she ever again meet -- as interesting a man as Rudyard Kipling. He's full of spectacular stories of drama and adventure. He tells her all about India (a place beyond Kitty's wildest dreams!) and reads to her from a new story he is writing about a boy named Mowgli who lives with wolves in the jungle. Imagine! Kitty, in turn, teaches the remarkable Mr. Kipling the strange ways of Vermonters, and helps with the Kiplings' new baby. In Kitty's own house her parents are constantly telling her that "curiosity killed the cat," but in Mr. Kipling's company the world seems wide open for Kitty to explore. However, as she soon discovers, not everyone is as happy with the Kiplings' move to Kitty's town as she is, and she comes to understand that the uncovering and acceptance of truths can be a painful process.

How two very different people from different parts of the world become friends and adventurers of the imagination is the heart of this charming tale by Lenore Blegvad. Based on true events, and illustrated with lively drawings by Erik Blegvad, Kitty and Mr. Kipling celebrates the power of story and the beauty of friendship.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Based on true events, this fine collaboration by the husband-and-wife team (Anna Banana and Me) opens in 1896 Vermont, as the fictional Kitty receives the two-volume The Jungle Book, first editions sent and inscribed to her by Rudyard Kipling. The story then shifts to four years earlier, when 26-year-old Kipling moves from England to rural Vermont, where his wife grew up. He spends the mornings writing and afternoons exploring the countryside. Meanwhile, his wife vigilantly fends off a steady stream of curious reporters. Mr. Kipling does, however, open his door and heart to his eight-year-old neighbor, who shares the writer's insatiable curiosity ("Mustn't hesitate to ask, Kitty," he counsels). From the kind, playful Kipling, Kitty learns much about the ways and thinking of the world beyond Vermont; from the big-hearted girl, he discovers the workings of the New England mindset and lifestyle, so alien to him. Kitty finds the time she spends listening to Mr. Kipling's stories-which unleash her own imagination-and playing with his baby, Josephine, both warm and rewarding. But the narrative's hint of "awful things" ahead becomes a reality when the Kiplings' long-simmering feud with Mrs. Kipling's somewhat irresponsible brother, boils into a lawsuit that creates a scandal and precipitates the family's return to England. The author artfully blends fact with fiction, shaping equally credible and affecting portraits of Kipling and Kitty. Erik Blegvad's pencil drawings effectively evoke the period and depict some memorable moments in this singular friendship. Ages 7-10. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This fictionalized tale of a young Vermonter who spends a magical year getting to know the famous author combines a number of lovely elements. Kitty is the daughter of pragmatic New Englanders. Their small town is thrown into chaos when the Kipling family moves in, partly because Mrs. Kipling's brother, Beatty Balestier, lives there. Kipling is very kind to young Kitty, involving her in his family life and telling her stories from his work in progress-The Jungle Book. As the seasons pass, the girl's sense of happiness fades as the relationship between the hot-tempered and profligate Balestier and the Kiplings deteriorates. Eventually, charges are filed when Balestier threatens to kill Mr. Kipling, and Kitty knows that it is only a matter of time before her friend returns to England. Erik Blegvad's soft drawings give readers a good sense of time and place. Kitty's personal growth allows her to accept that with life comes some pain, and that not everyone is perfect. An afterword gives biographical information about the Kiplings. While the book accurately depicts their time spent in Vermont, Kitty and her family are fictional creations. However, much of Kipling's dialogue is taken from written accounts of the time. This is a fast read, and a good recommendation for those looking for historical fiction for younger readers.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Writer Rudyard Kipling's ill-fated attempt to settle down in his American wife's small Vermont town gets a worshipful once-over through the eyes of (fictional) young Mary Sadie-dubbed "Kitty" by her father after the cat killed by curiosity. It's an appropriate moniker, as Kitty is forever asking questions of her parents and other grownups-a device the author leans on heavily to describe and to explain events that take place, largely, offstage. Kipling's efforts to help out a ne'er-do-well brother-in-law end in criminal charges and ultimately drive the writer back to England. Before he goes, though, he makes a big impression on Kitty, as a sensitive observer with his own bottomless well of curiosity: "Nothing," she writes, "was just ordinary to Mr. Kipling." Occasional ink drawings place dignified characters in peaceful rural settings. Though weighed down by an excess of historical detail (not to mention a substantial afterword and bibliography), the tale does bring this great writer closer to his modern audience of Best Beloveds, without idealizing either the man or his now-offensive politics. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689873638
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
10/25/2005
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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