The Misadventures of Maude March

The Misadventures of Maude March

by Audrey Couloumbis, Lee Adams

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Eleven-year-old Sallie March is a whip-smart tomboy and voracious reader of Western adventure novels. When she and her ladylike older sister Maude are orphaned for the second time, they decide to take matters into their own hands and escape their self-serving guardians for the wilds of the frontier and an adventure the likes of which Sallie has only read about.


Eleven-year-old Sallie March is a whip-smart tomboy and voracious reader of Western adventure novels. When she and her ladylike older sister Maude are orphaned for the second time, they decide to take matters into their own hands and escape their self-serving guardians for the wilds of the frontier and an adventure the likes of which Sallie has only read about. This time however, the wanted woman isn’t a villain out of a dime novel — it’s Sallie’s very own sister!

Narrated by the irrepressible Sallie, what follows is the rollicking, edge-of-your-seat story of what really happened out there on the range. Not the lies the papers printed, but the honest-to-goodness truth of how things went from bad to worse and how two very different sisters went from being orphans to being outlaws and lived to tell the tale!

Packed with memorable characters, rip-roaringly fast-paced action, and laugh-out-loud moments, The Misadventures of Maude March is Newbery Honor winner Audrey Couloumbis’s most unforgettable work yet.

Audrey Couloumbis’ first book for children, Getting Near to Baby, available on audio from Listening Library, won the Newbery Honor in 2000. She is also the author of Say Yes (2002), an IRA Children’s Book Award winner and Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book. Today she lives in upstate New York and Florida with her husband, Akila, and their dog, Phoebe. They have two grown children. You can visit Audrey’s Web site at:

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adams brings an inviting Wild West drawl to her reading of Couloumbis's (Getting Near to Baby) range-riding adventure story of two orphaned sisters who inadvertently become outlaws when they run away from a foster home following the death of their guardian, Aunt Ruthie. Sallie, a spunky 11-year-old fond of reading "dimers" (dime Western novels), narrates her action-packed, suspenseful journey with her older sister, Maude, as the girls try to find a long-lost uncle in Missouri. Along the way, the sisters become wanted for having "borrowed" an old horse from their local preacher on their way out of town. They meet up with a fellow outlaw/bank-robber (and the man who killed their aunt) as well as other characters, both unsavory and kind. All the while, Maude becomes notorious via various inaccurate newspaper accounts. Adams keeps listeners saddled up for this entertaining ride and satisfying denouement, having lots of fun with the dialect and inflection in Couloumbis's realistic dialogue and her believable sibling relationship. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This Wild West tale opens with Sallie March, 11, and her 15-year-old sister Maud living with Aunt Ruthie since the death of their mother. Maude is ladylike and proper, while Sallie fantasizes about the adventures in the dime novels she devours. When Aunt Ruthie is killed by a random bullet, the girls have problems with their new guardians. Having few other options, they set out on their own to find their uncle in Missouri. After a series of misunderstandings and more random incidents, the sisters find themselves on the wrong side of the law involved in robbery and murder, with Maude being written up in the papers as "Mad Maude" who has gone "crazy with grief." Told from Sallie's perspective, Audrey Couloumbis's novel (Random, 2005) is a rollicking adventure like few others. Narrator Lee Adams draws listeners in with her realistic tone of voice and slow manner of speaking. Sallie is clearly conveyed as spunky and smart, and Maude's moody temperament is made apparent through pitch and subtle inflections. While not fully voiced, listeners will have no trouble tracking the characters. This audio journey through the Wild West is not to be missed.-Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Listening Library, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


The heat was awful.

The breeze, when we got one, felt like it came out of an oven. Aunt Ruthie hoped to take our minds off our misery by taking us to town. Even in the dim cool of the mercantile, sweat made our clothing cling to our skin.

My dress was the worst, made out of some kind of muslin that got itchy once it stuck to me. Every two minutes, Aunt Ruthie would say, "Stop scratching, Sallie, it isn't polite."

The shooting didn't start until we'd stepped outside of the mercantile. The screen door whacked shut behind us, and we were greeted by a volley of shots. It was stunning really. Then it was scary. The noise was too great to take it all in at once.

It's strange the way time stretched in that moment and seemed to go on forever. The entire morning passed through my mind, starting when my older sister Maude ate my biscuit with jelly that I had left over from breakfast.

When I complained there were no more biscuits, and that was the last of the black currant jelly, she said,
"If you wanted it, you shouldn't have left it laying around." So while Aunt Ruthie said it was the heat, I knew it was that biscuit that had me squabbling with Maude all day.

As we neared the barber shop, walking to town, Maude pulled Aunt Ruthie toward a stone bench, saying,
"You're tiring yourself. Come sit down for a minute," and I dragged on Aunt Ruthie's other arm, saying, "It gets too hot to sit on that rock in the sun. Let's go someplace cooler."

Aunt Ruthie said, "I've had enough of being pulled apart."

In the mercantile, she showed her teeth at us and whispered, "You are to keep your distance, both of you. I don't care to listen to you bicker for another minute." We promised to be good. To this, she said,
"Stay over there by the farm goods."

In these aisles, there were only smelly jars of lanolin and herbal salves to examine, and such things as curative oils for ear mites and wireworm to avoid, having nasty little pictures of the ills on the side of the bottles. This bothered me so bad that I pulled a dimer out of my pocket and set to reading it instead.

But Aunt Ruthie was right in sending us there. It was not two minutes before Maude started up again.
She told me that Joe Harden Frontier Fighter, was never a real man. "Those books weren't meant for girls to read, either," she said.

"How would you know?" I said to her. Maude didn't like for me to read dime novels. Sad to say, Maude thought dimers were a waste of learning how to read.

"It's just a made-up name for made-up stories out of books," she said. "Boys probably look up to him, but Joe Harden is just a story figure."

"Like David?" I asked her.

"David who?"

"David who slew Goliath. Is he made up?"

"Of course not, Sallie," Maude said. "What a terrible thing to say. Don't you let Aunt Ruthie hear you talk like that."

I didn't think Aunt Ruthie would care all that much. She hardly ever cared about anything but whether the work was done right. Maude was the one who cared about such things.

Maude and me were orphaned when our folks took sick with the fever. Aunt Ruthie had already started out from Philadelphia to come live with us and teach school. By the time she got to Cedar Rapids, Aunt Ruthie had to take us in. Or rather, we took her in, and she took care of us.

I'm forgetting Uncle Arlen. He was Aunt Ruthie's, and Momma's, younger brother, but he had gone west not long after our folks died, and we had not heard from him in years. So he didn't count as kin. Aunt Ruthie herself said he was as good...

Meet the Author

Audrey Couloumbis was born in Illinois.  She currently lives in Queens, NY, and upstate NY with her husband.  This is her first children's book.

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