For the Blossom family it’s the best day of their lives — and the worst. Maggie, out west with her mother, is about to become the newest Blossom on the rodeo circuit. And now that the rain has finally stopped, Junior can at last visit his friend Mad Mary in her cave in the woods.
These two weeks of rain have been like an answer to a prayer for Vern and his friend Michael. Together they planned and built a perfect raft, and now, with everyone out watching the waters rise over the banks of the Snake River, they’re sure their great voyage downstream will be witnessed with cheers.
Vern’s grandfather, Pap, is watching the river and dreaming about his old days as a rodeo star. Suddenly he hears screams from the river and runs to the rescue. What will Pap find? How will the Blossom family pull together?
Betsy Byars is a Newbery Medal winner and a National Book Award winner. Her first children’s book was published in 1962, after it had been rejected nine times. Since then, her works have appeared on the best books lists of the… More about Betsy Byars
Also in Children’s Middle Grade Action & Adventure Books
When she was a young girl living in Charlotte, North Carolina, Betsy Byars thought being a writer was a boring career, and never imagined she’d become an author one day. But years later, while her husband attended graduate school, Byars started writing articles for The Saturday Evening Post, Look, and other magazines. And as her family grew and her children began to read, Betsy Byars began to write books for young readers. She learned that her childhood preconceptions about writing were incorrect and that there was more to being a writer than just sitting in front of a typewriter all day. In fact, she discovered firsthand that it was exciting and stimulating to create her own stories and characters. Betsy Byars’s first children’s book was published in 1962, after it had been rejected nine times. Since then, Byars has won the Newbery Award and the National Book Award and has received glowing reviews for her many novels and picture books. Kirkus Reviews has called Byars "a master of perfectly chosen incident and phrase." And The NewYork Times Book Review noted, "Byars has the uncanny ability to know the secret lives, the outward postures, and the exact words her characters would surely use." Today, Byars’s books continue to be favorites with children both in the U.S. and abroad, and they appear on numerous state reading lists. Well-known for her Blossom Family Quintet, Betsy Byars says she never intended to write more than one book about the lovable Blossom family. "Early in my career I decided not to do sequels. I know that children enjoy them, but I valued the feeling that this was the only time I would write about these characters. I felt it gave me an added incentive to do my best by them, to tell readers everything I knew, to hold nothing back. That worked for twenty-five years, and while I was very fond of certain characters and hated to say good-bye to them, I never had any real problem going on to something new." Though Byars started her first Blossom book, The Not-Just-Anybody Family, "with the same plan in mind–one set of characters, one book," she soon realized she felt differently about these characters and knew their story could not be contained in just one book. "I found I had been captured by the family as surely as if they’d thrown a net over me," she says. "When four of the Blossom books had been published I got to feeling lonely for the family, and it occurred to me that there was yet another story to tell. I remembered that when I was a child, I had a dog named Mac, and Mac was put on trial for murder–his victim was someone’s pet chicken." This episode was the inspiration for Wanted…Mud Blossom, in which Pap Blossom’s dog Mud gets in big trouble when a pet hamster disappears. Of the Blossom books, Byars admits, "This time I guess it took me five books to tell all I knew about these characters and to do my absolute best by a family I came to care a great deal about. Of course, when I finished the fourth book, I said there wouldn’t be any more, and I was wrong. So. . . "
author fun facts Born:August 7, in Charlotte, North Carolina
Education: Queens College, North Carolina
Currently lives: I live on an airstrip in South Carolina with my husband Ed. The basement of our house is a hangar so we can taxi out and take off.
Inspiration for writing: I write realistic fiction so most of my inspiration comes from things that really happen–things I read in the newspaper, or things that have happened to me, my family, and my pets.