Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review-Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released October 14th, 2008
224 pages
5 stars

AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER prides herself on doing things her way. But she meets her match when she, her mama, and her pin-curled older sis, Katie, move in with her cantankerous Gramps. The Oliver gals were supposed to join Pop in Knoxville for some big-city living, but Gramps’s recent sick spell convinced Mama to stay put in Cades Cove, a place of swishy meadows and shady hollers that lies on the crest of the Great Smoky Mountains.

And it’s not like there’s nothing going on in the Cove. Folks are all aflutter about turning their land into a national park, and Autumn’s not sure what to think. Loggers like Pop need jobs, but if things keep going at the current rate, the forests will soon be chopped to bits. And Gramps seems to think there’s some serious tourist money to be made. Looks like something different is definitely in order. . . .

This book won my heart at being a historical novel, set in the mid 1920's in a real mountain town. I adored this story about Autumn Winifred Oliver. She is a sassy, down to earth, fun loving, do what ever she can to save her town kind of girl. She had me laughing out loud at her one liners and the way her story is told. This story is set in the small town of Cades Cove, TN in the Appalachian Mountains. It's a story about how those living in Cades Cove saw their tiny home town become part of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Kristin's brilliant writing allows us to see the story through the eyes of 11 yr old Autumn, who adores the beautiful mountain side settlement she's grown up in. She's torn between living there and wanting to move with her Mama and sister, Katie to live with their Dad in Knoxville. Her mama decides to stay in Cades Cove longer to take care of her Grandpa, who is another memorable character in this story.

Job's are scarce and when the government comes in and offers the town a better way of life, they reluctantly take it, not knowing what the real intent is. Now torn between helping save her tiny, wilderness town or moving to the big city to be with her daddy, we see how the events of this historical park took place.

This story is full of a lot of humor as Autumn is the type of girl who floats down a flooded river in an empty coffin, scares off mean boys, steals dynamite from the government and says whats on her mind, and sometimes it's done in the most humorous of ways.

I found myself laughing out loud numerous times and Autumn has definitely become one of my favorite heroines. This is a must read for any middle school teacher who are wanting to treat their students to a great story about Appalachian charm and folklore, and what it was like living in a tiny back woods town in the mid 1920's. Not to mention what it's like for the people of Cades Cove learning their town is about to become of a National Park. Readers will be left feeling like they stepped back in time and were actually there.

It's a witty, sassy, fun and a historical read all wrapped up in one book.


  1. This looks like an incredible story. WOW!!!

  2. Thank you for the nice words! I'm delighted that Autumn made you smile! :-)


I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~