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LAST CHILD by Michael Spooner


by Michael Spooner

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8050-7739-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

In the midst of wars and rumors of wars, pestilence and fire, young Rosalie must grow up quickly. The smallpox epidemic of 1837 has killed most of her Mandan village near Fort Clark, and if she survives at all, she fears it’ll be as a society of one. Rosalie, the youngest in her family, has always been called Last Child, but now she may literally become that. Spooner uses alternating first-person voices—Rosalie’s and her white father’s—to vividly portray the lives of those caught in what seemed like the end of the world. Rosalie—part white, part Mandan—must navigate between both cultures, always feeling neither one nor the other, but she comes to realize she is the one who can document what has happened and appeal for aid for the survivors, only 150 of 2,000 villagers. The horrific effects of the “white man’s disease” are effectively shown, and Rosalie’s character and world are fully realized. A fine historical novel bringing an important chapter in American history to life for young readers. (timeline, notes on American history, bibliography, glossary, personal note) (Fiction. 11+)