Missing May by Cynthia Rylant, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Missing May

Missing May

3.5 36
by Cynthia Rylant
     
 

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Since summer was six years old she lived with dear Aunt May and Uncle Ob. Now, six years later, Aunt May has died. Summer, who misses May with all her might, is afraid something will happen to Ob. Most days Ob seems like he doesn't want to go on.

But then Ob feels May's spirit around him and he wants to contact her. Cletus Underwood, a strange boy from school,

Overview

Since summer was six years old she lived with dear Aunt May and Uncle Ob. Now, six years later, Aunt May has died. Summer, who misses May with all her might, is afraid something will happen to Ob. Most days Ob seems like he doesn't want to go on.

But then Ob feels May's spirit around him and he wants to contact her. Cletus Underwood, a strange boy from school, reads about someone who could help him do that. Summer wants to hear from May too.

Ob and Summer don't know what to expect when they set off on their search for some sign from May. They only know they need something to ease their sorrow and give them strength to go on living—always knowing they will never stop missing may.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This short novel is a study of grief--chiefly, that felt by Summer after her foster mother's sudden death, but also her sorrow at witnessing the grief of Ob, her foster father--she realizes that she herself may not be reason enough for him to go on living. And for several months it seems as if he may not in fact go on, until Summer and Ob take a short car trip that somehow transforms their lives. In a direct, matter-of-fact voice occasionally laced with irony and wry humor, Summer articulates many discerning insights about sorrow and loss. The reader remains a distant observer of her emotions, however--perhaps because the novel begins after May's death, making her a less immediate figure, perhaps because Summer's perceptions are quite sophisticated, even adult. And the novel's emotional turning point is difficult to grasp, either verbally or intuitively: all Summer, and we, know is that ``something happened to Ob'' to make him embrace life fully again. Ages 11-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This is one of the best books of 1992. When 12-year-old Summer's Aunt May dies, her Uncle Ob's grieving leaves the girl worried that she will lose him too unless she can give him a reason for living. Enter Cletus, a classmate of Summer's, weird according to Summer, but full of ideas and confidence. The 3 go on a trek to find May's spirit and in the process find inner strength in their friendship. What makes this book so memorable in Rylant's writing. In 89 pages, she paints vivid word pictures of the characters and gives us an intimate view of Summer and her deepest feeling for May and Ob that lasts long after the book is closed. 1993 (orig.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The Newbery winner for 1992 was Missing May by Rylant, a novel with a dark quality. The heroine, Summer, has been shifted from relative to relative for the first six years of her life. Finally she comes to live with Aunt May and Uncle Ob, two people rich in love, but poor in funds. The death of May intrudes just when Summer is feeling secure in her life. Rylant lets children know family doesn't necessarily have a typical configuration and that humor and love cross economic lines.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-- They've been a family for half of Summer's 12 years, and when her Aunt May dies, a little bit of Summer and her uncle Ob dies too--and his whirligigs go ``still as night.'' Ob's 'gigs are his ``mysteries,'' works of art that capture the essence of Storms, Heaven, Fire, Love, Dreams . . . and May. For a time, he seems to be failing, and Summer fears she'll lose him, as well. Then he claims to have been visited by May's spirit. And, stranger still to Summer, he takes a liking to that ``flat out lunatic,'' Cletus Underwood. Lunatic or no, Cletus steps unhesitatingly into the space May has left, and all three take off on a journey in search of May. It's an ill - fated journey that, nevertheless, lets Ob and Summer turn a corner in their grieving--and sets Ob free. With homely detail, Rylant plunges readers into the middle of Summer's world, creating characters certain to live long in their memories. Her tightly woven plot wastes no words; May's death and the course of her husband and niece's grieving are both reflected in and illuminated by the state of Ob's mysteries and the course of that interrupted journey of discovery. There is much to ponder here, from the meaning of life and death to the power of love. That it all succeeds is a tribute to a fine writer who brings to the task a natural grace of language, an earthly sense of humor, and a well-grounded sense of the spiritual. --Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Pub. Lib., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531085967
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/1992
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.73(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


As a child in West Virginia, Cynthia Rylant never dreamed of becoming a writer. In her free time, she devoured Archie comic books and paperback romances and enjoyed the outdoors. But after taking one college English class, she was, “hooked on great writing… I didn’t know about this part of me until I went to college-didn’t know I loved beautiful stories.” And one night, inspired by the Southern writer James Agee, she sat down and wrote When I Was Young in the Mountains. Named a Caldecott Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book, it was an instant success.

Since that night, Rylant hasn’t stopped creating wonderful books. Her stories explore friendship, love, grief, and other mysteries, and often draw on her memories of growing up in Appalachia. “I get a lot of personal gratification thinking of those people who don’t get any attention in the world and making them really valuable in my fiction-making them absolutely shine with their beauty.”

She lives with her many pets in the Pacific Northwest.

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