Dear Gram and Grampop,
Please do not address yours truly as California anymore, California Morning Whipple being a foolish name for a duck much less a girl. I call myself Lucy now. I cannot hate California and be California. I know you will understand.
California doesn't suit Lucy Whipple not the name, not the place. But moving out West to Lucky Diggins, California, was her mama's dream-come-true. And now her brother, Butte, and sisters, Prairie and Sierra, seem to be Westerners at heart, too. For Lucy, Lucky Diggins is hardly a town at all just a bunch of ramshackle tents and tobacco-spitting miners. Even the gold her mama claimed was just lying around in the fields isn't panning out. Worst of all, there's no lending library! Dag diggety!
So Lucy vows to be plain miserable until she can hightail it back East where she belongs. But Lucy California Morning Whipple may be in for a surprise because home is a lot closer than she thinks...
When California Morning Whipple's widowed mother uproots her family from their comfortable Massachusetts environs and moves them to a rough mining camp called Lucky Diggins in the Sierras, California Morning resents the upheaval. Desperately wanting to control something in her own life, she decides to be called Lucy, and as Lucy she grows and changes in her strange and challenging new environment. Here Karen Cushman helps the American Gold Rush spring to colorful life, just as she did for medieval England in her previous two books, Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice, which won Newbery Honor status and a Newbery Medal respectively.
PW gave a starred review to this gold-rush novel by Newbery Medalist Cushman, calling it "a coming-of-age story rich with historical flavor." Ages 8-12. (May)