Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories

Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories

4.6 3
by Rosemary Wells, Peter McCarty
     
 

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In 1923, there were no doctors or hospitals in the isolated mountains of Appalachia. Then Mary Breckinridge came. Trained as a nurse, she made the Appalachians her life's work-fording icy streams and climbing untracked mountains to bring medical help to those in need. These three stories, told in simple, luminous prose, bring to life the birth of the Frontier Nursing…  See more details below

Overview

In 1923, there were no doctors or hospitals in the isolated mountains of Appalachia. Then Mary Breckinridge came. Trained as a nurse, she made the Appalachians her life's work-fording icy streams and climbing untracked mountains to bring medical help to those in need. These three stories, told in simple, luminous prose, bring to life the birth of the Frontier Nursing Service, which still operates in Kentucky. Mary On Horseback shows yet another side of Rosemary Wells-one of today's most versatile authors.

"These beautifully written stories will remain with the reader long after the book is closed." - Booklist, starred review

"A compelling little book that might well cause some children of this overabundant age to consider their blessings...." -The Horn Book, starred review

Awards:

( Winner of the Christopher Award
( A Horn Book Fanfare Book
( A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
( A Smithsonian Notable Book for Children

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Mary Breckenridge trained as a nurse in WWI after losing two husbands and two children. She organized a team of nurses to help the poor and under-served in the mountains of Kentucky. The book is divided into three stories of separate people's views of how they were influenced by Breckinridge's work. Two children are lifted from poverty and hopelessness, and a fellow nurse learns to trust her intuitions and interpret signs of need from people who are not always forthcoming with feelings and information. Part of the power of this novel comes from the stories themselves, another part from Wells' genius at turning history into story and a third part from giving a biography the beauty of words and voice that help its compassion touch others, just as Breckinridge's actions did long ago. Wells has proved herself an outstanding creator of picture books. Here, she shows her versatility as she brings creativity and word mastery into a longer work. This is a fabulous family read aloud.
Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
Three strong and interlocking stories tell of the arrival of the Frontier Nursing Service in Appalachia, thanks to the efforts of the courageous and extraordinary nurse Mary Breckinridge. Breckenridge was a compassionate woman who trained as a World War I nurse and lost two husbands and two children before taking up the cause of disease prevention and better health care for mountain people. History is revealed or confirmed in a front note of "Kentucky 1923" and an afterword about Breckenridge, but the real Mary Breckinridge shines forth through Wells' evocation of three true-to-life characters, whose stories make wonderful read-alouds. While young John waits for his father's leg to heal, he learns to read and dream at Breckinridge's clinic; a young nurse from Scotland makes her way to mountain people; and silent little Pearl who hasn't spoken since her mother died in childbirth accompanies Breckinridge through the mountains, dispensing overalls to little girls so that their dresses don't catch fire, a common occurance since little girls tended the wood stoves. This spare book reminds us that one person's passion on behalf of a cause can, and did, change the world-in this case founding a health organization that visits more than 35,000 mountain homes yearly.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-The practice of modern medicine was practically nonexistent in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky in the 1920s. Diphtheria, typhoid, and small pox ravaged the mountain dwellers' lives. Mary Breckinridge, herself a widow whose children had also died, decided to change things. This pioneering nurse-midwife who founded the Frontier Nursing Service is introduced through the eyes of three fictional characters whose lives are irrevocably changed by their encounters with her. Young John nearly faints at his first sight of a needle and syringe that are used to treat his injured father. Miss Ireland, an 18-year-old nurse from Scotland, braves the mountain wilderness at night to inoculate a young child. Pearl, her mamma's "ownliest sugarplum" retreats into a world of silence upon her mother's death until she is loved out of it by Mary and her nurses. Though each story is brief, Wells's realistic yet poetic prose perfectly captures the dichotomy of the majestic beauty of Appalachia and the harsh realities of mountain life. McCarty's evocative illustrations, based on photographs taken for the Frontier Nursing Service, are an ideal complement to the text. An afterword provides a brief biography of Breckinridge and information on the Frontier Nursing Service. This one's a gem.-Peggy Morgan, The Library Network, Southgate, MI

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780613337113
Publisher:
Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Pages:
53
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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