Thirteen-year-old Rosie Beckett has never strayed further from her family's farm than a horse can pull a cart. Then a letter from her Aunt Euterpe arrives, and everything changes. It's 1893, the year of the World's Columbian Exposition-the "wonder of the age"-a.k.a. the Chicago World's Fair. Aunt Euterpe is inviting the Becketts to come for a visit and go to the fair! Award-winning author Richard Peck's fresh, realistic, and fun-filled writing truly brings the World's Fair-and Rosie and her family-to life.
Granddad emits a strangled sound, 13-year-old Rosie pitches right off her chair, and young Buster just vibrates. What event catapults the Beckett family into such a state? The arrival of a letter from distant Chicago--and not just a letter, an invitation from Mama's elusive, wealthy sister Aunt Euterpe. She decides that it's high time for the children to see the world beyond "the four walls of a one-room country schoolhouse." And what better opportunity than the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, to honor the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America? Spanish nobility, President Cleveland, and Ferris wheels, oh my! Richard Peck, Newbery Medal-winning author of A Year Down Yonder, paints a charming portrait of a 19th-century farming family turned upside down by a visit to the big city. Narrator Rosie is friendly and funny as she describes the instant (if not entirely successful) citification of her family, encounters with Buffalo Bill himself, and her own delightfully eccentric Granddad who named his horse after Lillian Russell (which is just fine until they meet her at the fair). This wonderful, witty glimpse into 19th-century America--sprinkled with historical photographs--concludes with an insightful essay on the Exposition. Heartily recommended. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson