Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trouble with May Amelia!

Sunrise was at 7:36, not that long ago, and sunset will be at 6:12. Foggy now, clear earlier. The fog is tinted a very faint yellow, at least around my house, because of the banana skin yellow leaves on the trees. The street trees across the valley are the most extraordinary colors: carmine at the tops, chartreuse at the bottoms, more red, less green every day as the air grows colder. Just exquisite.

The raccoons were busy in the fountain yesterday, big splashes of water over the patio, chewed up plastic plant pots, potting soil stones in the basin. And something chewed a hole in the bird feeder, a big hunk chewed right out of the corner of the plastic wall that holds the feed in the feeder. You can tell the animals are getting ready to hunker down when activity in the area picks up like this.

Blue jays dominate the feeder but the little chickadees get their fair share, eventually. The feeder is set over the blackberry bushes so they sit and wait for the jays to slip off the metal pole that holds it. The jays hold the pole in their claws and push the feeder with their beaks until it gets close enough to grab. They hold the pole with one claw and the feeder with the other and straddle the space while they clean it out of their favorites, throwing everything else to the ground that the dark brown birds, juncos, maybe? eat.

There's a Siamese cat out there that spends a lot of time sitting in the middle of all that grounded bird food, I don't know who or where her parents are, and she's caught a few of the less observant birds over the years we've lived here. We chase her off and she'll be gone for a day or two, but then we'll see her slink back through the bushes, setting up her post, waiting and waiting while Gidget sits in the window, growling.

I had made breakfast and was looking for something to read so looked through a pile on the floor and kalloo, kallay! found the sequel to Our Only May Amelia in it! What a day, what a find! I LOVE Our Only May Amelia! I LOVE Jennifer Holm! I started it right away and, oh, that May Amelia. How hard it is to be the only girl on the Nasel River, how hard it is to have people expect you to be a girl and to only have boys as friends and family.

It picks up maybe a few months after the first book ends and May is hiding in a tree because her father is mad at her. He's mad at her because, while she was washing dishes, she accidentally washed the jar of yeast starter so now there won't be any bread.

May Amelia has 7 brothers and a sister who died. She has parents and a small group of adults and boys who really do love her. It's just unfortunate that she is the only girl in a settlement on the southern Washington coast where there are no roads but the river. Just across that river, on the corner of Oregon, is Astoria, the nearest city to Nasel, in the year 1900.

Our Only May Amelia was a Newbery Honor book and was made into a play by Seattle Children's Theater. My niece, Brittney, and two of her friends, read OOMA and loved it so we got tickets for them to come to the play and to get their books signed. I like to think that it might have been a defining moment for them-I know that Britt and Judy still remember the play and meeting Jenni on opening night. We have pictures and one day I will find them again.

Anyhoo- I am just thrilled that I found The Trouble With May Amelia in that pile of books and that I don't have to be at work until 11:30 today! (Ages 9 and up.)
(Atheneum. Due out April 5, 2011. $15.99.)

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