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One Came Home
Cover of One Came Home
One Came Home
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A Newbery Honor Book

An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel

“An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world. . . . Run out and read it. Right now.”—Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman


In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.

But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and...
A Newbery Honor Book

An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book

Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Novel

“An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world. . . . Run out and read it. Right now.”—Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman


In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.

But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of "pigeoners" trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha's blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and...
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.8
  • Lexile:
    690
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book CHAPTER ONE
    So it comes to this, I remember thinking on Wednesday, June 7, 1871. The date sticks in my mind because it was the day of my sister’s first funeral and I knew it wasn’t her last—which is why I left. That’s the long and short of it.
    But surely, you’d rather hear the long than the short.
    At the moment of the above thought, I stood wedged between Ma and Grandfather Bolte. Ma seemed a statue in black except for the movement of her thumb and forefinger over a scrap of blue-green fabric. Grandfather Bolte sighed, adjusting his hands on the hat he held in front of his belly. Seeing the minister on the other side of that six-foot hole reminded me that I was “sister of the deceased”—a fancy title for someone who stands quietly, holds her tongue, and maintains a mournful attitude. But I could barely stay still. I was not in this situation by choice, and wore a borrowed black dress to boot. The collar clamped to my neck and the tension of the muslin between my shoulder blades suggested that, if I let my arms fall to my sides, the dress would rip somewhere in the proximity of my armpits. So there I was, sticking a finger down my collar, holding my arms out from my sides, and the meaner part of me thinking about walking out—surely, enough is enough. But Grandfather Bolte saved me from strangulation. He unbuttoned the top button on that collar, and from somewhere deep in my depths came a patience I didn’t know I possessed. I stayed.
    Don’t misunderstand me—a funeral is a funeral. Though my sister wasn’t in that pine box, a body lay in it sure enough. Remember, I told myself many times during the minister’s eulogy, and then as people started shoveling dirt into the hole, that coffined body down there is dead. That’s a d at the beginning and a d at the end. There’s no forward or backward from “dead” and no breath either—“dead,” stops a person cold. It does not make that body your sister, but it is sad, sad news.
    The way I figured it, I’d survive this funeral, and then I was free to go.

    My sister, Agatha Burkhardt, had run off with pigeoners—two men and one woman in a forlorn-looking buckboard. Sheriff McCabe went after those pigeon hunters, following them all the way to Dog Hollow. One week later he came back with a body.
    Ma said I was old enough to face facts. So I went with Ma and Grandfather Bolte out to the McCabe stables to “identify.”
    You could smell the body from outside the building.
    Inside, dust hung in a twist of sunlight, an old mare stamped in a far stall, and a pine box lay on a roughly hewn table. Grandfather Bolte walked straight up to that box and slid the lid off.
    I do not want to talk about what I saw. But if you’re to understand the rest, here’s what you need to know: There wasn’t a lot of body left (the sheriff said that it’d been exposed to animals). There wasn’t a face. There wasn’t a left or right hand. The body was wrapped in fabric from Agatha’s blue-green ball gown. There was a clump of auburn hair. I started to shake. I still have nightmares (that body was in an advanced state of decomposition). But I am glad I looked. I know what I saw. I also know what I didn’t see.
    Grandfather Bolte put his hand to his mouth and turned away. Ma stood there, taking it all in, pausing for what seemed like months. Then she asked Sheriff McCabe for his knife. When he didn’t give it to her, she laid her eyes on him. They stared at each other for a long while, and then he pulled it from its sheath.
    It was a big knife—the kind of knife with a sharp, upturned point. Ma...
About the Author-
  • AMY TIMBERLAKE is the author of the Newbery Honor book One Came Home, as well as the middle-grade novel That Girl Lucy Moon and picture book The Dirty Cowboy, winner of the Golden Kite Award. Amy has worked as a book reviewer, columnist, and children's bookseller. She grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, and now lives in Chicago. Visit her at AmyTimberlake.com.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books otter - Okay, this book is amazing! Georgie's sister, Agatha, runs away when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn't. A couple days later, an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha's dress is found. Georgie refuses to believe Agatha is dead, and sets out on a journey to find her, along with an unexpected companion. Great book!
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 1, 2012
    In 1871, in the small town of Placid, Wis., a sister goes missing and a great adventure begins. Disconsolate over the end of a promising courtship, Agatha Burkhardt runs off without so much as a goodbye to her younger sister, Georgie. When the sheriff attempts to locate and retrieve Agatha, he brings home not the vibrant sister that Georgie adores, but an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha's ball gown. Alone in her belief that the body is not her sister's, Georgie sneaks away in the dead of night, determined to retrace Agatha's steps in order to solve the mystery of her disappearance and, she hopes, to bring her home. To Georgie's surprise, she's joined on the journey by her sister's former flame. And what a journey it is, fraught with mountain lions, counterfeiters and marriage proposals. The truly memorable characters and setting--particularly descriptions of the incredible phenomenon of passenger-pigeon nesting and migration--and the gradual unraveling of the mystery of Agatha's disappearance make this one hard to put down. The icing on the cake, though, is Georgie's narration, which is fresh, laugh-out-loud funny and an absolute delight to read. Georgie's story will capture readers' imaginations with the very first sentences and then hold them hostage until the final page is turned. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2013

    Gr 5-8-Thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt can shoot better than anyone in Placid, Wisconsin. She can handle accounts and serve customers in her family's general store. What she can't do is accept that the unrecognizable body wearing her older sister's blue-green gown is Agatha. Determined to discover what happened after Agatha abruptly left town with a group of pigeoners, Georgie sets out to follow her route. In return for the loan of a mule, she reluctantly allows Billy McCabe, one of Agatha's suitors, to accompany her. The journey includes a menacing cougar and ruthless counterfeiters, but Georgie's narration offers more than action-packed adventure. She unravels the tangle of events that led to Agatha's sudden departure and acknowledges her own role. By turns humorous and reflective, Georgie's unique and honest voice includes confusion about her feelings for Billy and doubts about her ability to kill even in desperate circumstances. Timberlake seamlessly integrates information about two significant events that occurred in Wisconsin in 1871: the largest recorded nesting of passenger pigeons in spring and devastating firestorms in fall. Georgie's physical and emotional odyssey that occurs between those two events will linger in readers' minds.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    December 15, 2012
    Grades 6-9 To find out what really happened to her purportedly dead sister, sharpshooting 13-year-old Georgie Burkhardt and her sister's one-time suitor Billy McCabe follow the trail of pigeon hunters and discover far worse going on near Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871. Georgie tells her story in a first-person narrative that rings true to the time and place. She is smart, determined, and not a little blind to the machinations of adults around her, including Billy, who has been sent by Georgie's storekeeper grandfather to follow her and keep her safe. She does notice that Billy is well made, but this is no love story; it's a story of acceptance, by Georgie, her family, and her small town. Timberlake weaves in the largest passenger pigeon nesting ever seen in North America, drought and fatal fires along Lake Michigan that year, a currency crisis that spawned counterfeiters, and advice on prairie travel from an actual handbook from the times. Historical fiction and mystery combine to make this a compelling adventure, and an afterword helps disentangle facts from fiction.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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    Random House Children's Books
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