Elizabeth Kimmel Willard, the pen name for Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, is a lifetime Little House enthusiast. She is the author of many books for children, including the Lily B. series. She lives in Cold Spring, New York, with her husband and their daughter.
Gr 3-6-After scrimping and saving for two years, the Ingalls family finally saves enough money to send their eldest child to Iowa College for the Blind. Sixteen-year-old Mary misses her family, but she begins to learn new skills, including Braille and piano. More importantly, she learns to deal openly with her disability and to gain self-confidence. Mary's encounters with other students, including her congenial roommates, are realistic and have the same warm feel of the original "Little House" books. Similarly, the school bully who unfairly singles Mary out for persecution is reminiscent of Nellie Oleson. What makes this story engaging is the detailed account of daily life in 1881 at an all-girls' school for the blind. An afterword explains that while little is known about Mary's personal experiences there (except for her excellent academic achievement), there is a record of the class offerings and organizational structures in the school's archives. Young readers will enjoy learning more about Mary's experiences on her own in this satisfying stand-alone story.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.