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That's One Ornery Orphan: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

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Another spirited girl takes centre stage in award-winning author Patricia Beatty’s novel of 1880’s Texas. When Mr. Gipson delivered fast-talking Hallie Lee Baker to the Blanco County orphanage, he hopes she soon will be adopted by a respectable family. Callie wants to be “picked,” too, but not by a hated sodbuster, and she decides to waggle her way out of such an awful fa Another spirited girl takes centre stage in award-winning author Patricia Beatty’s novel of 1880’s Texas. When Mr. Gipson delivered fast-talking Hallie Lee Baker to the Blanco County orphanage, he hopes she soon will be adopted by a respectable family. Callie wants to be “picked,” too, but not by a hated sodbuster, and she decides to waggle her way out of such an awful fate. Her attempts lead her to an assortment of foster parents: Preacher Spiller, a not-so-Christian sinister, and his pill-popping sister, Tinie; Doc Wiley and his wife, where Hallie’s purported expertise with babies gets her into trouble; and Ada Lillibridge, a flamboyant and temperamental actress whose scandalous ways shock even our open-minded heroine. After this encounter, Hallie despairs of ever finding a loving home and voluntarily returns to the orphanage, where by now the director has become a true friend. This fast-moving tale with a happy ending is laced with the broad humour Beatty readers enjoy so much. "Patricia Beatty scores again with another plucky heroine who gets herself into, and out of, some offbeat scrapes. Hallie Lee Baker, the orphan of the title, is more tough than ornery, and she can tell a bigger whopper than most any cow-puncher in 1889 Texas. When her grandpa dies, Hallie winds up in the country orphanage, run by the steely Miz C.T. Hopkins, where lonely kids wait to be taken home by “pickers.” Hallie barely has time to befriend some of the lonelier orphans when a whopper about bad outlaw blood lands her in the house of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. He baptizes her in an ice-cold river and makes her slave over the laundry and cooking; she doses his snuff with chili pepper in revenge. Next picker is Doc Wiley, who puts Hallie to work minding babies in his clinic until she mixes up a pack of dark-haired cousins. Third is a shameless actress who smokes a cheroot and rides a horse across the stage wearing next to nothing, shocking Hallie—who cusses like a bandit but knows where to draw the line. When all’s said and done, Hallie finds herself a home in the place she least expected it (with German-speaking sodbusters) and finds a friend in old C.T. A peppery treatment of historical curiosa—for assured reader appeal." KIRKUS REVIEW


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Another spirited girl takes centre stage in award-winning author Patricia Beatty’s novel of 1880’s Texas. When Mr. Gipson delivered fast-talking Hallie Lee Baker to the Blanco County orphanage, he hopes she soon will be adopted by a respectable family. Callie wants to be “picked,” too, but not by a hated sodbuster, and she decides to waggle her way out of such an awful fa Another spirited girl takes centre stage in award-winning author Patricia Beatty’s novel of 1880’s Texas. When Mr. Gipson delivered fast-talking Hallie Lee Baker to the Blanco County orphanage, he hopes she soon will be adopted by a respectable family. Callie wants to be “picked,” too, but not by a hated sodbuster, and she decides to waggle her way out of such an awful fate. Her attempts lead her to an assortment of foster parents: Preacher Spiller, a not-so-Christian sinister, and his pill-popping sister, Tinie; Doc Wiley and his wife, where Hallie’s purported expertise with babies gets her into trouble; and Ada Lillibridge, a flamboyant and temperamental actress whose scandalous ways shock even our open-minded heroine. After this encounter, Hallie despairs of ever finding a loving home and voluntarily returns to the orphanage, where by now the director has become a true friend. This fast-moving tale with a happy ending is laced with the broad humour Beatty readers enjoy so much. "Patricia Beatty scores again with another plucky heroine who gets herself into, and out of, some offbeat scrapes. Hallie Lee Baker, the orphan of the title, is more tough than ornery, and she can tell a bigger whopper than most any cow-puncher in 1889 Texas. When her grandpa dies, Hallie winds up in the country orphanage, run by the steely Miz C.T. Hopkins, where lonely kids wait to be taken home by “pickers.” Hallie barely has time to befriend some of the lonelier orphans when a whopper about bad outlaw blood lands her in the house of a fire-and-brimstone preacher. He baptizes her in an ice-cold river and makes her slave over the laundry and cooking; she doses his snuff with chili pepper in revenge. Next picker is Doc Wiley, who puts Hallie to work minding babies in his clinic until she mixes up a pack of dark-haired cousins. Third is a shameless actress who smokes a cheroot and rides a horse across the stage wearing next to nothing, shocking Hallie—who cusses like a bandit but knows where to draw the line. When all’s said and done, Hallie finds herself a home in the place she least expected it (with German-speaking sodbusters) and finds a friend in old C.T. A peppery treatment of historical curiosa—for assured reader appeal." KIRKUS REVIEW

41 review for That's One Ornery Orphan: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan

    The good-hearted but high-spirited orphan that's always getting into trouble is a classic in children's fiction (Anne of Green Gables comes to mind) and Hallie in this book is a good example of such. Her parents died when she was a baby and, when she was thirteen, her grandfather died and she was sent to an orphanage. What followed were several unsuccessful attempts at placement in adoptive homes, but Hallie always got sent back to the orphanage and wondered if she would ever find a place to cal The good-hearted but high-spirited orphan that's always getting into trouble is a classic in children's fiction (Anne of Green Gables comes to mind) and Hallie in this book is a good example of such. Her parents died when she was a baby and, when she was thirteen, her grandfather died and she was sent to an orphanage. What followed were several unsuccessful attempts at placement in adoptive homes, but Hallie always got sent back to the orphanage and wondered if she would ever find a place to call her own. 9-to-12 girls will like this story and will find much to admire and empathize with in Hallie. The author's afterword explains the real history behind several of the incidents that take place in the novel. I would recommend this book. A similar, more recent title is Karen Cushman's Rodzina .

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara Leacock

    One of my favorite books as a kid, and still a fun read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonele

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  5. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Alice

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wendyb

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meredith McCaskey

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sequoyah

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    DaisyandYarrow

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryann Pratt

  15. 4 out of 5

    Whimsyism

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becca

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cara's Craftsations

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abra

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monica Schulte

  21. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  22. 4 out of 5

    Keturah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Janice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lanny

  28. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Brown

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dawn cline

  31. 4 out of 5

    Britbrat

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sue Thoroughman

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  34. 5 out of 5

    Tema

  35. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  36. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  37. 4 out of 5

    Calisto

  38. 5 out of 5

    Cozette R

  39. 5 out of 5

    Marybeth Cottington

  40. 4 out of 5

    MaryJo

  41. 5 out of 5

    Leah

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