The Wonder of Charlie Anne

The Wonder of Charlie Anne

4.8 8
by Kimberly Newton Fusco
     
 

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Charlie Anne is devastated when her father must go north to build roads after the Depression hits. She and her siblings are left with their rigid cousin, Mirabel, and a farm full of chores. The only solace Charlie Anne finds is by the river, where the memory of her mother is strongest.
 
Then her neighbor Old Mr. Jolly brings home a new wife, Rosalyn, who…  See more details below

Overview

Charlie Anne is devastated when her father must go north to build roads after the Depression hits. She and her siblings are left with their rigid cousin, Mirabel, and a farm full of chores. The only solace Charlie Anne finds is by the river, where the memory of her mother is strongest.
 
Then her neighbor Old Mr. Jolly brings home a new wife, Rosalyn, who shows up in pants—pants!—the color of red peppers. With her arrives Phoebe, a young African American girl who has also lost her mother. Phoebe is smart and fun and the perfect antidote to Charlie Anne's lonely days. The girls soon forge a friendship and learn from each other in amazing ways.
 
But when hatred turns their town ugly, it's almost more than they can bear. Now it's up to Charlie Anne and Phoebe to prove that our hearts are always able to expand.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Charlie Anne makes use of her "most terrible mad look" with some frequency, but she’s most furious about her papa’s heading north from Massachusetts to build roads for Roosevelt’s New Deal, abandoning family and farm to the joyless clutches of her late mother’s cousin Mirabel. When not busy baking hard-times vinegar pies (almost like lemon!) or mucking out the privy, Charlie Anne has a lovely, supernatural way of interacting with the world; her recently buried mother, the river, the molasses-eyed cows and even the clothesline communicate with her regularly. Fusco’s mellifluous style often sounds like singing: "Go do this, the new mama tells me, and I do it, just because." Two conflicts loom largest: dyslexic Charlie Anne’s battle with "jumbled letters" and her controversial friendship with an African-American girl who moves into the all-white community and stirs up its "backwater" hatred. Good humor, kindness and courage triumph in this warm, richly nuanced novel that cheers the heart like a song sweetly sung. (Fiction. 9-13) - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Each character is distinct and adds flavor, but it’s Charlie Anne’s voice that resonates as she confronts both the hardships and unfairness of life, yet finds ways to change things for the better." - School Library Journal, starred review

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375895555
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/10/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
870,163
Lexile:
970L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Go do this, the new mama tells me, and I do it, just because.  

Look in that cupboard because maybe there's something in there, maybe a mouse. Or maybe not, maybe it's just a shadow from that old pee pot in there, the new mama isn't sure. But I better do it, just because.  

I know just because. Just because means I am a girl, and a girl needs to know about things, like keeping whites from colors in the washbucket and why you sweep before you mop, and about keeping your legs crossed all the time and how to rub a skinny little chest with Vicks while you're wiping a nose. Two things at once, that's what you do. Keep your cow from running in the road at the same time you're trying to get all these peas shelled for supper. And do be quiet while the new mama talks, on and on.  

"You better listen when I'm talking because I'm not going to say it twice, Charlie Anne. Put on some beans, and why don't you mix up some biscuits, nice and high like your papa likes them, and how come these underpants aren't ironed right? They're rough as shingles. Don't you listen to a thing I say?"  

I turn and look as far as I can see. No, ma'am. The new buttercups bloomed this morning. Can't you hear them? They are singing, and I can hear their tiny voices calling out to me, and the bees are buzzing inside that apple tree so loud I can hardly think about the laundry that still needs hanging.  

But the loudest voice is the river that races right across our fields. It says, Hurry, Charlie Anne, hurry. It says it all the time.    

This is how we got so many babies around here.  

One morning when I am small I walk out to check on our cow, Anna May, and nestled up against her is a new little calf with eyes as dark as a full jar of molasses. I pull my milk stool over and sit and watch Anna May and how happy she is nuzzling her first baby calf and I get to thinking about how I would like to have little babies in the house for me to play with so I will have more than just Thomas, who is too old, and Ivy, who tells on me all the time. So I pray to the angels that they will bring my mama a baby. I pray awfully hard because Anna May's calf is so gosh darn cute and he just about splits my heart like an old melon and before I know it we have two babies in our house, split, splat. First Peter and then before I know it another baby, Birdie, who will not eat anything but biscuits, blackberry jam and lemon drops. Mama gets all tired and worn out from her new babies and she gets a cross look when I ask if she wants to go to our favorite spot by the river.  

My prayers keep on strong as rock because, before I know it, there's another baby, the one who takes Mama straight to heaven as soon as she is born. I stop praying to the angels after that. Prayers are powerful things.    

After lunch I stomp outside because the new mama says I have to go get all the laundry I just hung up. It is going to rain and I have to take it all down and hang it in the barn. I don't want to take down everything I already hung up. The sun will dry it all over again tomorrow, and besides, I want to go to the river, I tell her. I have already been doing chores since I woke up. The new mama tells me to get the laundry or else.  

The new mama is the cousin Mirabel from two towns over. Papa did not ask her, she just showed up one day after the funeral with her suitcases, all strapped up tight, and her shoes that snap when she walks. After Mama left us, Papa walked around like a horse kicked him in the belly, so he did not say much when Mirabel told Peter and Birdie to move up to the attic with Ivy and me. Since Thomas was already fifteen, he could sleep in the barn. I asked why couldn't I do that. Why couldn't I sleep with Anna May and our chickens, Minnie and Olympia and Bea, instead of Peter, who still wets the bed. Mirabel told me right then and there that I was going to learn some manners, or else. None of us like Mirabel, me especially. I think she has her eyes on Papa in a bad way.  

I stomp outside.  

Actually, I am afraid of me dying from all my chores. I reach up and check my heart. It is all skittering and I sit down on the clothes basket and let it rest. Mirabel tells me not to worry, I am strong as an ox. I hear the screen door bang, and before I know it, she is out on the porch with her hands on her hips yelling for me to help her with the lunch. I jump up and start pulling down all the laundry I already hung up, and when I do, I hear the river calling me again: Hurry, Charlie Anne, hurry

From the Hardcover edition.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Charlie Anne makes use of her "most terrible mad look" with some frequency, but she’s most furious about her papa’s heading north from Massachusetts to build roads for Roosevelt’s New Deal, abandoning family and farm to the joyless clutches of her late mother’s cousin Mirabel. When not busy baking hard-times vinegar pies (almost like lemon!) or mucking out the privy, Charlie Anne has a lovely, supernatural way of interacting with the world; her recently buried mother, the river, the molasses-eyed cows and even the clothesline communicate with her regularly. Fusco’s mellifluous style often sounds like singing: "Go do this, the new mama tells me, and I do it, just because." Two conflicts loom largest: dyslexic Charlie Anne’s battle with "jumbled letters" and her controversial friendship with an African-American girl who moves into the all-white community and stirs up its "backwater" hatred. Good humor, kindness and courage triumph in this warm, richly nuanced novel that cheers the heart like a song sweetly sung. (Fiction. 9-13) - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Each character is distinct and adds flavor, but it’s Charlie Anne’s voice that resonates as she confronts both the hardships and unfairness of life, yet finds ways to change things for the better." - School Library Journal, starred review

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Meet the Author

Kimberly Newton Fusco is the author of Tending to Grace, which the Denver Post called "a stunning story." It received multiple starred reviews and many accolades, and received the American Library Association's Schneider Family Book Award for its empathetic portrayal of a young girl who stutters. It was also an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, a Booklist Top 10 First Novel for Youth, an IRA Notable Book, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Before becoming a novelist, Ms. Fusco was an award-winning reporter and editor for the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
 
Ms. Fusco lives in Foster, Rhode Island, with her husband and their four children. You can visit her on the Web at www.kimberlynewtonfusco.com.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Wonder of Charlie Anne 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great! Recamend highly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the wonder of charlie anne sooooo much! It is very powerful and very sad. What happens is a girl named charlie anne is all alone, she is stuck with her cousin Mirabel and her brother and sisters. Her mom died and her dad went to build roads with her older brother. Mirabel is really mean to Charlie Anne but you will soon learn the power of friendship, love, and intergration when you read The Wonder of Charlie Anne.
Bobbi12 More than 1 year ago
 I chose this book because It looked like it would be about a girl who had difficulties throughout her life.  At first, I wasn’t sure if this book  would be a book that I would really like, but as I read it, I actually wanted to read more.  This book was very exciting. The book turned out  to be kinda like my prediction and it was mostly what I had expected. I feel a different  way  than I did when I first opened this book. Yes,  my prediction turn out mostly right but when I finished this book. It made me feel like I have a lot more stuff than most kids have and I  should appreciate the things I have and not the things I don’t have. Charlie Anne is devastated that her father  must go up North to build roads after her mother has died.She and her brothers and sisters  are left  with her cousin Maribel and a farm full of chores. One day there  neighbor has come home with a new wife (Rosalyn) along with  her came a little African American girl named Phoebe. Together they start to create a beautiful friendship. But when the town loses side  of what is important it is up to Charlie Anne and Phoebe to show them that there is always room in your heart for more.Charlie Anne has  a great sense of adventure and  is ready for something new. Phoebe has lost her mother also but she is open minded and helpful.The  setting is a small farm with chickens and cows and a lot of plants  such as vegetables, and fruit. This book is realistic fiction.  Here are some reasons why I liked this book. One is that it made me have a  different point of what I  have and what other children have.  I am lucky to have a mom that loves me and is willing to stand next to me when I need help. I felt like I should appreciate the things I have not the things I don’t. Another reason is that this book shows that People can do anything they want to do if they set their minds to it.  That is some reasons of why I liked this book. I really liked this book! I would recommend this book to readers who like adventure and being surprised. People who are going to read  this book the age group that would be most appropriate would be ages nine and up because there are some parts that little kids should n’t read or imagine at all. I would rate this book a  4  because it wasn’t the best but it was pretty good besides the incidents that happened. I really liked this book. My book was about a girl named Charlie Anne that had hard times and made a new friend Phoebe that helped her through those hard times. This is a really good book. And if you decide to read it I hope you like it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the book in real life and let me just say, THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE BBE! Btw: BEST BOOK EVER!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Youll love this great story that will make you cry in a good way. I dont care if your twenty or if your two (as long as you can read). Youll love this story about CharlieAnn after her mother dies. ENJOY!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thisvmis the best book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book do far