Missing May

Paperback | June 1, 2004

byCynthia Rylant

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As a child in West Virginia, Cynthia Rylant never dreamed of becoming a writer. In her free time, she devoured Archie comic books and paperback romances and enjoyed the outdoors. But after taking one college English class, she was, "hooked on great writing... I didn’t know about this part of me until I went to college-didn’t know I loved beautiful stories." And one night, inspired by the Southern writer James Agee, she sat down and wrote When I Was Young in the Mountains. Named a Caldecott Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book, it was an instant success.Since that night, Rylant hasn’t stopped creating wonderful books. Her stories explore friendship, love, grief, and other mysteries, and often draw on her memories of growing up in Appalachia. "I get a lot of personal gratification thinking of those people who don’t get any attention in the world and making them really valuable in my fiction - making them absolutely shine with their beauty."She lives with her many pets in the Pacific Northwest."

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From the Publisher

As a child in West Virginia, Cynthia Rylant never dreamed of becoming a writer. In her free time, she devoured Archie comic books and paperback romances and enjoyed the outdoors. But after taking one college English class, she was, "hooked on great writing... I didn’t know about this part of me until I went to college-didn’t know I lov...

As a child in West Virginia, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant devoured comic books and paperback romances. She never dreamed of being a writer until she took one college English class. Then she became "hooked on great writing...I didn't know about this part of me until I went to college?didn't know that I loved beautiful stories." One n...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:112 pages, 7.59 × 5.27 × 0.31 inPublished:June 1, 2004Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0439613833

ISBN - 13:9780439613835

Appropriate for ages: 9

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from I don't really recommend it 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.
Date published: 2013-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Missing May "Missing May" is a short book that can be read in one sitting. Even though it is short there is nothing lacking in the story. All the characters are developed wonderfully and they all end up feeling like old friends. It is a poignant novel about death and the depression that follows the loss of a loved one. Summer loses her mother and goes to live with various kin, but never feels unconditionally loved by any of them, she is even afraid to ask for more milk. Then Ob and May come visiting and they take her home with them that very day. Summer belongs heart and soul to them from that day on. Summer's joy is turned to sorrow when May passes on and Ob has a hard time dealing with the depression of losing his wife. Together along with a neighbor boy named Cletus, Summer and Ob are able to work through their grief and find hope during a trip to the Capitol. One bad thing about finishing this book so quickly is that you feel the loss of new found friends.
Date published: 2008-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Missing May! Summer is very heart brocken by the death of her aunt May. The author used very good vocabulary of words,but the word Dead appears too many times in the book. It has a happy ending that makes the book a great read to anyone. It may be short, but it's a good book to read when a loved one dies.
Date published: 2005-03-26