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Bo at Ballard Creek


Series
Bo

by
Kirkpatrick Hill
illustrations by
LeUyen Pham

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Macmillan
Imprint
Henry Holt
ISBN
9780805093513

Awards and Honors
2014 Scott O’Dell Award; Horn Book Fanfare, Best Books of 2013, Fiction; ALA 2014 Notable Children’s Books, Middle Readers
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Sexual Content: Reference/Discussion
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Adopted by two blacksmiths in a mining camp in post-gold-rush Alaska, Bo learns Eskimo along with English, encounters a roaming bear, and even gains a brother. Black-and-white illustrations.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Language: Mild Language, Sexual Content: Reference/Discussion

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

288

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Dewey

Fic

AR

5.2: points 7

Lexile

840L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Sep 2013

Book Genres


Topics

Fathers. Adoption. Eskimos. Alaska History (1867-1959).

Standard MARC Records

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine*, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

In 1924, Arvid and Jack, two blacksmiths who work in mining communities in the Alaska territory, adopt an abandoned baby girl. They name her Bo, and, when readers meet her, they will be immediately grabbed by her infectious personality. One moment she helps Jack, who becomes a camp cook, make doughnuts, and the next minute she runs in a three-legged race. When a speechless boy shows up in the camp, five-year-old Bo’s compassion helps him heal. Each experience Bo has, including her frightening encounter with a bear, plays out naturally. Pham’s joyful illustrations match the overall exuberant mood of the story. Sweeping generalizations like “Eskimos are just foolish over babies” and “All the Eskimos made up songs—funny songs or sad or happy,” coupled with some strong language, are unfortunate. Readers can easily picture the Alaskan mining town where Bo and her family live, though they might wish for a map to give them a sense of the vast land and the distance between the towns mentioned and documentation about the Native group(s) living in the territory during the early part of the 20th century. The endearing qualities of Bo, her fathers, and the other characters are what make this story.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
The disarmingly forthright tone is set right at the start of this chapter book when we meet Bo, a little girl who lives with her papas (yes, that’s plural) in a small, almost-worked-out gold-rush town in 1920s Alaska. Papa Jack and Papa Arvid explain to Bo that her mother was Mean Millie, a “good-time girl” who unceremoniously dropped baby Bo into Arvid’s arms and left town on the riverboat. “Sometimes mamas don’t stick around, you know. Just walk off.” The explanation satisfies Bo and suits the cheerful and uncomplicated nature of the episodic story, which follows Bo through the course of a year. Like Little House in the Big Woods but with a considerably larger cast (miners, Eskimos, old-timers, good-time girls), the small events (a birthday party, a visiting plane) and crises (a grizzly, pneumonia) keep the story involving even while it lacks much of a through-line beyond the seasons. The frequent use of simple pen-and-ink drawings further the Wilder resemblance, but Pham’s are more sophisticated, befitting the era and situations. Hill’s book is a little more rambunctious, but in the end it shares something else with Laura: with the gold now gone, Bo and her papas (and a new adopted little brother) head out for better prospects and perhaps another book? roger sutton

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

In 1924, Arvid and Jack, two blacksmiths who work in mining communities in the Alaska territory, adopt an abandoned baby girl. They name her Bo, and, when readers meet her, they will be immediately grabbed by her infectious personality. One moment she helps Jack, who becomes a camp cook, make doughnuts, and the next minute she runs in a three-legged race. When a speechless boy shows up in the camp, five-year-old Bo’s compassion helps him heal. Each experience Bo has, including her frightening encounter with a bear, plays out naturally. Pham’s joyful illustrations match the overall exuberant mood of the story. Sweeping generalizations like “Eskimos are just foolish over babies” and “All the Eskimos made up songs—funny songs or sad or happy,” coupled with some strong language, are unfortunate. Readers can easily picture the Alaskan mining town where Bo and her family live, though they might wish for a map to give them a sense of the vast land and the distance between the towns mentioned and documentation about the Native group(s) living in the territory during the early part of the 20th century. The endearing qualities of Bo, her fathers, and the other characters are what make this story.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
The disarmingly forthright tone is set right at the start of this chapter book when we meet Bo, a little girl who lives with her papas (yes, that’s plural) in a small, almost-worked-out gold-rush town in 1920s Alaska. Papa Jack and Papa Arvid explain to Bo that her mother was Mean Millie, a “good-time girl” who unceremoniously dropped baby Bo into Arvid’s arms and left town on the riverboat. “Sometimes mamas don’t stick around, you know. Just walk off.” The explanation satisfies Bo and suits the cheerful and uncomplicated nature of the episodic story, which follows Bo through the course of a year. Like Little House in the Big Woods but with a considerably larger cast (miners, Eskimos, old-timers, good-time girls), the small events (a birthday party, a visiting plane) and crises (a grizzly, pneumonia) keep the story involving even while it lacks much of a through-line beyond the seasons. The frequent use of simple pen-and-ink drawings further the Wilder resemblance, but Pham’s are more sophisticated, befitting the era and situations. Hill’s book is a little more rambunctious, but in the end it shares something else with Laura: with the gold now gone, Bo and her papas (and a new adopted little brother) head out for better prospects and perhaps another book? roger sutton

Grades 3-5
Intermediate Readers
For Grades 3-5

A wide variety of novels and accessible nonfiction for younger elementary readers who love a good story comprise this category of 12 books per year. The focus in these titles is primarily on the text, though some novels may feature illustration.

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Interests
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