Missing May

Missing May

by Cynthia Rylant


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This critically acclaimed winner of the Newbery Medal joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content.

Ever since May, Summer's aunt and good-as-a-mother for the past six years, died in the garden among her pole beans and carrots, life for Summer and her Uncle Ob has been as bleak as winter. Ob doesn't want to create his beautiful whirligigs anymore, and he and Summer have slipped into a sadness that they can't shake off. They need May in whatever form they can have her -- a message, a whisper, a sign that will tell them what to do next. When that sign comes, Summer with discover that she and Ob can keep missing May but still go on with their lives.

A beloved classic about grief, gardens, and the enduring love of family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439613835
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 06/28/2004
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 90,059
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Cynthia Rylant has written more than 100 books, including Dog Heaven, Cat Heaven, and the Newbery Medal-winning novel Missing May. She lives with her pets in Oregon.

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Missing May 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting to read.It is about a girl who was taken away from her mom.Then moves with her aunt and uncle.The next day her aunt dies. Now she is stuck with her uncle. This book takes place in West Virgina. They went other places like West Virgina's state capital. In the hot spectacular weather. I liked this book because the author put a lot of details into it. She gave it a lot of enthusiasm. It also was like a text to self for me. The way she described it also helps me picture the book in my mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This short novel, Missing May, has its positive sides and negative sides. The book starts with the death of Summer¿s foster mother, May. As the story goes on, we can see and feel the hardships of Summer and Ob¿his foster father. Missing May was beyond my expectations, with its simple yet delicate touch. This book is worth a try, especially to people who have never experienced such an abrupt opening in a book. The resolution and the warmth it brings will not leave my memories for a long time.
newanddifferent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quiet, melancholy story of a small, makeshift family after the matriarch dies. Didn't really care for this one, but the writing is good.
MidnightTears on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rylant uses this small little book to deal with one of the hardest things in life: when a loved one passes away.Summer has come to live with Ob and May. After Summer's mother passed away, she was just passed around family members in Ohio. Never really looked after and treated like a burden. That is until Ob and May come for a vist, pack her up, and take her home with them that same day.Now, Summer and Ob are trying to find a reason to go on after May passes. They try just about everything a person could try to re-connect with May. But, once they realize the best way to do that is to live, everything just falls into place. I'd reccomend this book for children or adults that have lost someone and still haven't quite found a place for all those feelings. Another book about a sad topic, but with a feel good ending.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summer is a 12 year-old orphan, who has been living blissfully in West Virginia with her Uncle Ob and Aunt May since she was 6. One morning, Uncle Ob finds Aunt May dead in her garden. Summer's own grieving for Aunt May is complicated by her concern for Uncle Ob, who seems to have given up on everything. Then Summer's classmate Cletus comes to visit, and and Ob is intrigued by this boy who experienced death but came back. A simple but powerful YA book.
cammykitty on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had heard this was a great book but had been avoiding it for awhile because I thought it was going to be lugubrious. It isn't. Bridge over Teribithia is a far more lugubrious book. Missing May is about the mourning process, but it is also about how people help each other through a crisis.Cletus, the crazy boy who collects things, attaches himself to the mourning Summer and Ob. His exuberance keeps the book moving, as does the twist of May perhaps not being totally gone.A good book, and certainly a good one for children to read so they are better prepared to handle mourning. Sadly, it's an experience most people have to go through at some point.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Be sure to have a box of tissues by your side if/when you read this poignantly wonderful book of loss that wounds and love that transcends the sadness of death, enabling the spirit to keep living through the pain.Cynthia Rylant, the author of this 1993 Newbery Medal award winning book, is rightfully deserving of the honor.While small in the number of pages, it is large in depth and meaning. It packs a soft wallop as each and every word is used with such powerful poetry that I marveled as I turned the pages.Narrated by Summer, we learn of the difficult early years after her mother died and she was complacently passed along to a series of family members. "Every house I had ever lived in was so particular about its food, and especially when the food involved me. I felt like one of those little mice who has to figure out the right button to push before its food will drop down into the cup. Caged and begging. That's how I felt sometimes."Rescued by elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ob, Summer finally finds a secure, stable home as she lives with these two wonderful people who, while lacking in financial resources, have an abundance of love.When Aunt May dies, in deep grief, Summer's fears of abandonment and insecurity arise as she watches Uncle Ob slip into depression.Enter anything but ordinary, highly eccentric, classmate Cletus Underwood who brings a unique joy and unconventionality to the two deeply hurting souls.I liked everything about this book. Rich in symbolism, the words gentle power come to mind.Highly recommended.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short volume about the pain of losing a loved one is made more poignant given Summer's background of losing a mother and being passed around her extended family, before coming to live with her Uncle Ob and Aunt May. While Summer is very concerned about her uncle, ultimately, the story is about her own grief and coming to terms with her own loss. A wonderful book for anyone who has lost a loved one.
dianaking on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girl, Summer, whose parents have died. After being passed from relative to relatives, she ends up living with Aunt May and Uncle Ob. She arrives as a shy child and eventually overcomes the shyness. Aunt May ending up dying and Uncle Ob doesn't take her passing very well. I personally rated this book three stars. I didn't understand the ending. I understood that Summer finally cried, but the part about Ob left me with questions. In the classroom, I would ask the students to compose an essay from personal experience that mentions a family member or close friend passing and how they dealt with it. Was there someone who helped you deal with it? Did it take years later? What did you gather from the experience with Missing May?In the classroom, I would ask the students to compose an essay about a travel experience they experienced in the past. Include the individuals that came along and when it occurred. Must be at least one page in length.
The_Hibernator on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the death of her aunt May, Summer must deal with her own grief as well as the ensuing depression of her bereaved uncle. Short, cute book about dealing with death. Nothing amazing. I think Newbery judges just really like books about grief.
ElenaEstrada on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Missing May¿ Cynthia Rylant is a work of art that is truly deserving of the John Newberry Medal. Even though this book may not be for everyone, since it primarily deals with grieving the loss of a loved one, the poetic literary devices and the writing style is unique. By reading the topic, I thought that I would not enjoy reading it, but I read it in two sittings. I was drawn to the spirituality of the book without the religious element. The existential themes revolved around ¿Why are we here?¿ and what are the priorities that are important such as ¿What makes a family?¿ ¿What do children really need?¿ ¿Where do people go when they die?¿ ¿How do people recover from the death of a loved one?¿ and ¿How do people with depression find the strength to move on?¿ The main character Summer, her uncle Ob, and their friend Cletus create a new family as they help each other move after the death of May the matriarch of the family. Although the book may be a type of ¿Self-Help¿ book, I would be careful to recommend this book to a grieving student who is dealing with a recent death, since the literature may bring too many emotions to the surface and the child may not know how to deal with this alone.Ages 4th and Up
nlevanen09 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: This is a great example of realistic fiction because the book deals with the struggles of loosing a loved family member and the unique ways it brings people together. It has other elements of spiritualism and religion but the focus is of the struggle of "missing may."Stars for CharacterizationAge: Intermediate
goldstars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary- Summer, an orphaned adolescent from Ohio, recently moves to West Virginia to live with her Aunt May and Uncle Ob. Her new parents take care of her and give her a life she's never known. They are not wealthy, but provide Summer with love and adoration. The story takes place after May dies in her garden. Ob is heart broken and Summer is left to take care of herself and Ob. A schoolmate named Cletus enters the picture. Cletus is an outcast and a constant bother to Summer. Eventually, the three characters bond and form an incredible friendship while trying to overcome May's death. Opinion- I enjoyed reading this book. It was unlike many books I've read. Not even 100 pages long, the book can be read very quickly. The author does not use confusing or pretentious language and is best suited for middle school aged children. I thought the plot was interesting and very somber. I enjoyed this book and will read others by Rylant.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Why is it that I have become such a big Cynthia Rylant fan, especially loving her Mr. Putter and Tabby series, a series of very short chapter books, and yet I found this book too short? Missing May is the story of a girl, Summer, who lost her parents and thought she'd never find love again. Then she came to live with Aunt May and Uncle Ob. May and Ob were the embodiment of love. Summer was rapturously happy until one day May collapsed and died while working in her garden.Ob and Summer were filled with despair. They frantically tried to contact May in the spirit world, but everything they tried failed. It is only with the help from a boy from Summer's school, Cletus, that Ob and Summer begin to heal and find a way to miss May without falling into despondency.
Omrythea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the death of the beloved aunt who has raised her, 12-year-old Summer and her Uncle Ob leave their West Virginia trailer in search of the strength to go on living.This book is a gem! Much better than Walk Two Moons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the story Missing May there is a girl named Summer. Her aunt had died recently. Summer and her uncle Ob had been really sad about it. Summer thinks that her uncle Ob might die soon. They traveled to West Virginia to visit the capitol, they also went to visit some old friends. At some point they would think of her aunt May and start getting emotional but after awhile they would start they would get over it. Overall I give Missing May three stars out of five stars. It was a good book but I would of liked it if there was more happy parts in the story. I think you should read this book if you like a twist and turns of happy and sadness. I recommend this book for any middle schooler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People say this book is too slow but im on pg 12 in school and i think its an ok book about a young girl named summer and her aunt may died!!!and i wish it is free so i can read it both ways!!!! :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
            This book is about a little girl named Summer who got taken away from her mom. She got tossed around between relatives until her aunt May and uncle Ob. They took care of her very well and loved her a lot. They loved her even though they didn’t have much money. Once may died everything fell apart. Ob and Summer couldn’t get over how much they missed her. Soon Summer was ready to move on and wanted Ob to move on too. Ob thought that it wasn’t worth it to just be sad for the rest of his life and so he moved on.          I give this book 3 stars because even though they were poor they loved each other a lot. It did get boring at times but it would get better after a while. I think it had a good conflict. I liked that it described a lot about Mays personality and why they loved her so much. It had a good message that you don’t need money to have love. So over all I think this book was ok.     
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoever wrote this book shouldbe ashamed!!!!!!!!!! I am a Christian, and books for KIDS( well in fact all ages) that have cursing in them should not be outbthere for children to read. I didnt read te book but I read the reviews, and that was enough. Books about communicating with the dead-- well, i you give them to the right kids who know that that definitely isnt real-- maybe. Probably NOT. Did I mention that I am ten? I had tobgive it a star because it wouldnt let me post without giving thebook a stae.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
As I would see the title of this book on lists of award winners, I always guessed that it was probably about a little girl named May who went missing. Boy, was I wrong! When twelve-year-old Summer was six, her mother died, and after being passed from house to house by her mother’s brothers and sisters in Ohio, she came to live with her Aunt May and Uncle Ob in a rusty old trailer at Deep Water in Fayette County, WV. Now Aunt May has died while out working in her garden, and both Summer and Uncle Ob miss her terribly. Then one day Ob claims that May has sent him a sign from the spirit world, but when he fails to hear any more, he seems to be losing the will to go on living, and Summer just doesn’t know what to do about it because she’s feeling sad and forlorn herself. However, their neighbor and Summer’s odd seventh-grade classmate Cletus Underwood, who has collected a suitcase full of newspaper clippings, has a suggestion on how Uncle Ob, whom he has befriended, can find some comfort. What is it? Will it work? And what will happen to Ob? This book, which won the Newbery Medal in 1993, probably because someone thought that it was a good book to explain death and how kids deal with it, is a strange story. Certainly, mourning over the loss of a loved one is something that we’ve all felt. Of course, Christians learn to handle such situations by turning to the “…God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). While there are a few Biblical references scattered here and there, it is plain that Aunt May and Uncle Ob are not very religious. So where do Cletus, Summer, and Ob turn to find help? They set off in search of the Reverend Miriam B. Young, Small Medium at Large and “pastor” of The Spiritualist Church of Glen Meadows, who claims to communicate with the dead. For Bible believers, the theology behind this book is just plain poor. I realize that various people grieve differently and seek comfort in their own way, and in the end things seem to turn out all right in the book, but many parents will likely be concerned about the themes of “spiritualism,” seeking answers with mediums, and communicating with the dead. As others have noted, if people do not wish their children to be exposed to these issues in a positive light or would prefer to discuss them with their children in view of their own values, they would not have a clue about the content from the book summary. As to language, in addition to several common euphemisms (blamed, holy crap, heck, bejeezus, and even “swear to God” as an interjection), both Ob and Summer use the “h” word, Ob uses the “d” word, and after using “a few choice swear words” he once said that cussing was like taking a strong drink of whiskey because both thawed him out and got his engine running again. In And the Winner Is…A Guide to Newbery Medal Winners from a Christian Perspective, Barb Brandeis and Deb Ekstrand, wrote, “Uses bad language. If this is the best literature of the year, 1992 was a BAD year.” I don’t really recommend Missing May.
The_hibernators More than 1 year ago
After the death of her aunt May, Summer must deal with her own grief as well as the ensuing depression of her bereaved uncle. Short, cute book about dealing with death. Nothing amazing. I think Newbery judges just really like books about grief.
savannahchapman More than 1 year ago
The book Missing May is about a young girl named Summer. She was only six years when she was adopted by a couple with names of May and Ob. They adopted her because both of her parents died. When she moved in, May and Ob loved her very much. They fed her and took very good care of her. Six years later May died and Summer and Ob were devastated. Ob felt as if he could just quit breathing and die. Then a boy that Summer knows came along. He collected many things. He collected old pictures the most. Ob and Summer found him looking through their old car for pictures. Ob invited him in and they became really good friends later on. He made Ob feel as if he had a purpose of living still. They hang out almost every day. Ob believes that May is on her way back. He says she has been sending signs to him from the spirit world. Ob, Summer, and Cletus Underwood. Go on a trip. They go to search for a bat lady that supposedly can connect with spirits. Ob says after they talk to the bat lady they all can go have fun and go visit historic places. They go to see the bat lady and they knock on the door. A boy answers and said the lady passed away not too long ago. Ob suddenly becomes filled with sorrow. They still go and have fun though. This book interested me very much. I suggest that all children my age should read it. I usually don’t read a lot of books but this one is really good. The characters turn from happy to sad throughout the book. I could picture the book in my mind. The author put really good details in it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet story that I use with my students in reading groups. There are elements of humor and mysteriousness that children latch onto and keep them entertained while reading this book. There are many things to discuss and think about while reading this text concerning loss of a loved one and coping with tragedy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This short novel, Missing May, has its positive sides and negative sides. The book starts with the death of Summer's foster mother, May. As the story goes on, we can see and feel the hardships of Summer and Ob_his foster father. Missing May was beyond my expectations, with its simple yet delicate touch. This book is worth a try, especially to people who have never experienced such an abrupt opening in a book. The resolution and the warmth it brings will not leave my memories for a long time.