about the book
Louisa Brody wants to holler that her pa is no thief, but she won’t give the awful Smirches the satisfaction of seeing her so distressed. Her family’s closest Colorado prairie neighbors, Maltilda and Malcolm Smirch, are the very ones who accused her father of thievery. They said Jack stole Maltilda’s clock and Winthrop’s hatchet. What would her father want with some old ticky-tock and Malcolm’s old dull axe anyways? Her daddy has a fine sharp one all his own!
Didn’t matter none. Sheriff Morgan came and took her father to jail more’n thirteen miles away. And to make this whole can of beans worse, she is stuck staying with the Smirches and their ornery sons Winthrop and Charlie, the very people who turned her whole life upside down.
One bright spot in this nasty piece of business is that Jessamine, the Smirches’ tiny orphaned niece from Topeka, is living here, too. Sassy Jassamine is full of life…and exaggerations. She even claims to have seen a little gnome in the hazel grove.
But when Louisa actually encounters the cantankerous little fellow, she suspects he’s the one doing the stealing!
Now Louisa may seem sweet and mild-mannered, but she’s a girl who has the strength to fight for what is right…and her daddy going to jail is just plain not right. But how is she going to get all the way to town and straighten that darn judge out when she sure can’t tell him about the gnome?
It’s a right confusin’ conundrum…but not to worry, Louisa is figurin’ it all out!
Melissa Wiley is the pen name of Melissa Anne Peterson, who began life on December 17, 1968 in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. She and two younger sisters spent their summers riding around and around…and around…in the cul-de-sac in front of their home. She always wanted to be a writer. Perhaps zooming in a circle gave her time to make up stories!
After studying writing in college and graduate school, Melissa moved to Chicago and got her start as a published author with a series of books called the Carmen Sandiego Mysteries. But it was her prequel series based on the Little House on the Prairie that brought her acclaim. So far, she has a dozen books published.
If you visit her current home in San Diego, California, the first thing that will strike you is the number of books. Her personal library has more than 3000 volumes! The second thing you’ll notice right away is the kids. There are six of them (ages 5 to 19) and they are all home schooled! Melissa always wanted to have a very large family, but she quickly learned that being a mom isn’t a picture perfect deal. Her oldest daughter survived leukemia and her oldest son copes with hearing loss.
Melissa is married to Scott Peterson, a comic writer. They co-write the webcomic Into the Thicklebit with illustrator Chris Gugliotto. Melissa is also a contributor to Wired’s Geekmom.Com website and blogs about writing and raising kids on her website Here in the Bonny Glen.
With all these kids, how do Scott and Melissa get any writing done? Well, they both work from home and came up with the perfect system. From 9:00-3:00 every day, Melissa is on duty and Scott retreats to his studio to work on his latest comic. At 3:00 she heads to her office to write and Scott takes over the household chores, making dinner, doing the laundry, and wrangling the kids. It works because they both respect each other’s writing time!
Also by Melissa Wiley:
The Little House : The Charlotte Years series and the Little House : The Martha Years series. Harper Collins. 1999-2003.
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