Grade Level: Fourth
This book is wonderful! And I am not just saying that because the main character, Hattie, and I share the same birthday. Although, that is pretty awesome. This book is the epitome of what I was hoping to find and share with people. I will admit, I did not pay attention to the top of the cover which lets the reader know this is the sequel to another book. But you need not have read Hattie Big Sky to enjoy Hattie Ever After.
In Hattie Ever After, Kirby Larson gives us a strong, independent female lead. She not only tries new things, but she leans on the Lord for strength and comfort. Hattie receives an opportunity to travel to San Francisco as a wardrobe mistress for a travelling vaudeville group. Her biggest doubt: moving farther away from her love, Charlie. Hattie realizes that at the ripe age of 17, she still has a lot to find out for herself before settling down. I should add that this novel is set in 1919.
Hattie’s true desire is to be a newspaper reporter. She finds such an opportunity in San Francisco. This book is full of loving and encouraging characters. Hattie makes fast friends with Maude, Bernice, and Spot. Not to mention several newspaper reporters. All the characters in the book give Hattie love and support and push her to be bold in going after her dream.
While she is working on her newspaper career, she is researching about her Uncle Chester and why he left San Francisco for Montana. She will discover that her friend Ruby is not her friend at all but instead a confidence woman who pulled off a few cons with Hattie’s Uncle. Ruby manages to manipulate Hattie out of some of her hard earned money. Hattie’s friend, Ned, also hurts her in that he steals her story idea out of jealousy. Hattie handles both situations with maturity and wisdom. She never speaks ill of those who hurt her.
She does find herself in a bit of a love triangle unbeknownst to her. Even though she moved to California, she still holds Charlie dear to her heart. She never says or does anything that might lead him on. While in San Francisco, Ned develops feelings for her, but I believe that Hattie doesn’t really realize that until later in the novel. She does kiss Charlie before leaving for California and she also receives a kiss from Ned later in the novel. He does make the following comment to Hattie after driving her home from work late one night: “As much as I would love to take you home with me, I think you’d best get out.” Overall, I believe Hattie handles these relationships well and is very upfront with both gentlemen.
Hattie prays throughout the novel and even quotes scripture. She is sweet and caring to all who extend a hand of friendship. She will have to work through her feelings for Charlie and her desire to be a reporter. She does decide which is more important by the end of the novel.
Lesson Plan Ideas:
- There are a lot of large vocabulary words in this novel. It might be good to front load those words. You can download my list of difficult words from teachers pay teachers for FREE!
- Your child could take on the roll of a reporter and ask family members questions about their childhood. If their grandparents are still living, that would be a great place to start. I loved all the stories I hear from my grandparents about their childhood. They could even mail their newspaper to other members in the family.
- Vaudeville is discussed in the novel. Your child could research vaudeville and perhaps create their own show with friends or siblings.
- Write a letter to a dear friend encouraging them.
- Discuss/journal about the downfalls of pride. Include verses from Proverbs.
- Write a response to Hattie’s quote on page 19: “‘Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.’”