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Taking Charge (rlb)

Taking Charge (rlb)

by Sonia Levitin

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When her mother has to leave home suddenly, Amanda learns how demanding it is to run a household and care for a baby.


When her mother has to leave home suddenly, Amanda learns how demanding it is to run a household and care for a baby.

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
Baby Nathan becomes an unpredictable force, and even the independent, enterprising Amanda finds him hard to manage on her own, as the saga of Amanda and her frontier family continues (Nine for California, Boom Town). Here Amanda tells her mother that it will be "no trouble" to take care of her baby brother when Mama is summoned back east to Missouri to care for Grandma, who has had an accident. But Nathan takes far more watching than anticipated: he learns to walk just as Mama leaves. Nathan's behavior as enfant terrible takes on tall-tale proportions when he locks himself inside the safe at the bank, but most of his mischief occurs in episodes that highlight the domestic life of the times (Nathan falls into the butter churn, interferes with the stationmaster's telegraph machine, and wrecks a quilting bee). Levitin's likable characters are once more agreeably homely and energetic in Smith's well-rendered water-color scenes of the homestead and growing frontier town. Nathan's antics provide humor, and there's drama, too, when he's found in the middle of the night viewing the outbreak of fire at a neighbor's farm. Amanda finally gives in and asks for help in making him some toys to occupy his attention. Readers are invited to make their own versions of his doll and stuffed horse with a pattern and instructions on the two sets of endpapers. Children, parents, and teachers will all enjoy the historical venture.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Amanda, who traveled west with her family in Nine for California (1996) and helped them get settled in Boom Town (1997, both Orchard), once again demonstrates her pluckiness and charm. When her mother takes a trip back to Missouri, the girl is left to care for her father and brothers. Immediately, Baby Nathan takes his first step and is off and running. As the days go by, Amanda not only rescues the troublesome youngster from numerous mishaps, but also tries to run the house and prepare the meals. Finally, she recalls her mother's advice to ask for help when she needs it and supportive neighbors pitch in. After Miss Millie shows Amanda how to sew a doll and horse to keep the wandering baby busy, the girl is able to handle the housework with ease. When Mama returns at last, Amanda has not only learned a lesson, but has grown up a bit as well. This delightful sequel combines history, humor, and great characterization. Smith's cheerful, busy watercolor cartoons are the perfect complement to the spirited story. The household furnishings and ethnically diverse neighbors add historical accuracy. Directions and patterns for making the toys mentioned are provided on the endpapers. For fans of the other Amanda stories or for plain, old-fashioned fun, this book is a surefire winner.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Amanda (Boom Town, 1998, etc.) returns for her third adventure, this time standing in for her mother who has returned to the East to care for her ailing mother. Amanda figures she's more than up to the challenge of housekeeping for her father, three older brothers, and Baby Nathan. Determined to do it all herself, Amanda spurns her father's suggestion to seek help-even though dinners are getting progressively less appealing. Baby Nathan proves to be her true undoing, and finally Amanda solicits help, realizing that trouble shared is trouble halved. By the time her mother returns (an easy trip, apparently, to the other coast and back), Amanda is ready for an extended break, and readers will be, too. This story is a flat, humorless extension of the last two books; Baby Nathan's shenanigans are predictable, forgettable, and woefully tame. Smith's watercolors inject some spunk, but it may be time for Amanda's adventures to come to a rest. (Picture book. 5-9) .

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.26(w) x 9.83(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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