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O the Red Rose Tree: Historical Fiction for Teens: Illustrated Edition

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Amanda's overbearing grandmother and frail old Mrs. Hankinson, newly arrived from the hills of Kentucky, are natural-born rivals for the blue ribbon in quilting at the Pacific County Fair, and when Amanda and her three friends (13 years old, but still quite childish in the slower paced world of 1894) throw in their lot with the newcomer they're presented with a challenging Amanda's overbearing grandmother and frail old Mrs. Hankinson, newly arrived from the hills of Kentucky, are natural-born rivals for the blue ribbon in quilting at the Pacific County Fair, and when Amanda and her three friends (13 years old, but still quite childish in the slower paced world of 1894) throw in their lot with the newcomer they're presented with a challenging (and historically authentic) quest -- finding seven shades of color-true red cloth for Mrs. Hankinson's original "O The Red Rose Tree" pattern. More than the by hook or (mostly) by crook methods that the girls use to acquire the goods, it's the quilting lore, rural superstitions and 1890's society fads that provide the momentum for a full length story. And Amanda's seizing of the last "red" -- the petticoat of an Italian opera singer -- in the "morally bilious" city of Portland, Oregon is an appropriately colorful climax.


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Amanda's overbearing grandmother and frail old Mrs. Hankinson, newly arrived from the hills of Kentucky, are natural-born rivals for the blue ribbon in quilting at the Pacific County Fair, and when Amanda and her three friends (13 years old, but still quite childish in the slower paced world of 1894) throw in their lot with the newcomer they're presented with a challenging Amanda's overbearing grandmother and frail old Mrs. Hankinson, newly arrived from the hills of Kentucky, are natural-born rivals for the blue ribbon in quilting at the Pacific County Fair, and when Amanda and her three friends (13 years old, but still quite childish in the slower paced world of 1894) throw in their lot with the newcomer they're presented with a challenging (and historically authentic) quest -- finding seven shades of color-true red cloth for Mrs. Hankinson's original "O The Red Rose Tree" pattern. More than the by hook or (mostly) by crook methods that the girls use to acquire the goods, it's the quilting lore, rural superstitions and 1890's society fads that provide the momentum for a full length story. And Amanda's seizing of the last "red" -- the petticoat of an Italian opera singer -- in the "morally bilious" city of Portland, Oregon is an appropriately colorful climax.

30 review for O the Red Rose Tree: Historical Fiction for Teens: Illustrated Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I read this as a child. I remember really enjoying the girls adventures as they went about gathering samples of red fabric for the quilt. I don’t know why the thought of this book popped into my head today, but here it is on Goodreads. I am delighted to see all of the authors other books and also delighted to learn that she was a feminist!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Patricia Beatty never came up way back when we were discussing what we read growing up, did she? Something my friend mentioned made me think of this book and I dug it out, and it's melodramatic and funny and wonderful. I wouldn't say this is an all-time children's classic, but it's very entertaining, ridiculous in a great way, and such a complete story. Patricia Beatty never came up way back when we were discussing what we read growing up, did she? Something my friend mentioned made me think of this book and I dug it out, and it's melodramatic and funny and wonderful. I wouldn't say this is an all-time children's classic, but it's very entertaining, ridiculous in a great way, and such a complete story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David L.

    In my Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile, I have "Did You Know" sections. These sections have bits of history and trivia. This book made an appearance. "Carmine is the name for the brilliant red pigment derived from the cochineal insect found in Mexico. The lucrative monopoly of the cochineal supply held by the Spanish (they learned how to manage this red treasure from the Aztecs) is described in Amy Butler Greenfield’s A Perfect Red. In the later 19th century, synth In my Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile, I have "Did You Know" sections. These sections have bits of history and trivia. This book made an appearance. "Carmine is the name for the brilliant red pigment derived from the cochineal insect found in Mexico. The lucrative monopoly of the cochineal supply held by the Spanish (they learned how to manage this red treasure from the Aztecs) is described in Amy Butler Greenfield’s A Perfect Red. In the later 19th century, synthetic dyes derived from coal tar dethroned these reds derived from nature. According to Keith Veronese, author of Rare, the element europium is used to create the color red in liquid–crystal televisions and monitors, with no other element or chemical able to reproduce the color reliably. Another exploration of red, in this instance redheadedness, is Red: A History of the Redhead, written and read by Jacky Colliss Harvey, herself a redhead. She explores the social history of red hair and scientific research relating to it. She mentioned that redheads need 20% more anesthesia than everyone else. A charming middle school book is the historical novel O the Red Rose Tree, by Patricia Beatty. It’s about the search by four girls in 1890s Oregon for seven shades of red cloth that are color–true. They want to help an old lady make a unique, rose–patterned quilt for the county fair."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bryn (Plus Others)

    A childhood favourite which I had forgotten the name of, but I found it a few years ago and read it and was delighted at how good it is -- I read it so young I remembered very few details of the story, just the quilt and the shades of red and that there was an ocean. Note to self: This is not the 'Flotsam and Jetsam' book, that is The Wheel on the School, which we also read in kindergarten, so the conflation makes sense. A childhood favourite which I had forgotten the name of, but I found it a few years ago and read it and was delighted at how good it is -- I read it so young I remembered very few details of the story, just the quilt and the shades of red and that there was an ocean. Note to self: This is not the 'Flotsam and Jetsam' book, that is The Wheel on the School, which we also read in kindergarten, so the conflation makes sense.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The book tells the story of four eighth grade girls living on the west coast of Washington in the 1890s. The girls befriend an old woman, Mrs. Hankinson, whose lifelong dream is to make a quilt with a pattern called “O the Red Rose Tree.” The problem is, she needs seven different colors of red cloth that won’t bleed out when wet. This was a huge dilemma as the cloth would have to come from Europe as Mrs. Hankinson doesn’t want to use Turkey red, the only readily available cloth that meets her st The book tells the story of four eighth grade girls living on the west coast of Washington in the 1890s. The girls befriend an old woman, Mrs. Hankinson, whose lifelong dream is to make a quilt with a pattern called “O the Red Rose Tree.” The problem is, she needs seven different colors of red cloth that won’t bleed out when wet. This was a huge dilemma as the cloth would have to come from Europe as Mrs. Hankinson doesn’t want to use Turkey red, the only readily available cloth that meets her standards. These girls don’t have any money to buy cloth and would most likely have to travel over 100 miles to even find the right kind. Only slightly daunted, the girls set off in a series of adventures to get these pieces of cloth, even resorting to lying (and getting caught and punished with a switch!). One of the girls eventually ends up in Portland during the great flood of 1894 and is able to get the last piece of cloth. But will they have time to finish the quilt? Illustrated by Liz Dauber. I’m not sure if the typical American tween girl would enjoy reading this book, but I was so excited when I rediscovered this title I had to include in on my list. The story moves quickly and is wonderfully funny. These are pretty disobedient girls and they get into all kinds of situations. Beatty’s descriptions of Portland society climbing in and out of second story windows to go to parties and restaurants still holds the same charm it did when I first read this book over 25 years ago.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    In the late 1800s near the town of Nahcotta, on the Washington coast, Amanda and her friends discover a newcomer--elderly Mrs. Hankinson, who has no relatives or friends. The girls befriend her and learn that she used to be an expert quilter, but could never make the one quilt she'd been dreaming of for sixty years, called O the Red Rose Tree. She would need seven different colorfast reds, and in those days, the only colorfast reds came from Europe and were fantastically expensive. Amanda and he In the late 1800s near the town of Nahcotta, on the Washington coast, Amanda and her friends discover a newcomer--elderly Mrs. Hankinson, who has no relatives or friends. The girls befriend her and learn that she used to be an expert quilter, but could never make the one quilt she'd been dreaming of for sixty years, called O the Red Rose Tree. She would need seven different colorfast reds, and in those days, the only colorfast reds came from Europe and were fantastically expensive. Amanda and her friends rather rashly promise to find her the reds by hook or by crook, though Amanda must keep it secret from her termagent grandmother, who always wins the quilting blue ribbon at the county fair. The search ends up taking Amanda as far as Portland, during its historic flood. Will they find the reds in time for Mrs. Hankinson to make the quilt and beat out Amanda's grandmother? My mother read this to us when we were kids, and I loved it almost as much as I loved the Nickel Plated Beauty, another Beatty book set in our state. It's another episodic family story of the type I've always liked, though I felt this one was a little more uneven--the cloth-finding goes fast at the start of the book, then slows to nothing through the long part in Portland, which is almost a third of the book. Still, I really enjoyed it, and think there should be more books set in historical Washington.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Miss Amanda

    gr 4-6 193 pgs Olympic peninsula, Washington, 1893. At first, 13 year old Amanda and her friends are convinced the old lady Mrs. Hankinson who moved into town is a witch. But when they visit her, they discover that she's just lonely. When Amanda's grandmother turns the town against her, Amanda and her friends continue to visit her and learn Mrs. Hankinson is an accomplished quilter. Amanda's grandmother has always won first place in the yearly quilt contest, but Amanda and her friends are determi gr 4-6 193 pgs Olympic peninsula, Washington, 1893. At first, 13 year old Amanda and her friends are convinced the old lady Mrs. Hankinson who moved into town is a witch. But when they visit her, they discover that she's just lonely. When Amanda's grandmother turns the town against her, Amanda and her friends continue to visit her and learn Mrs. Hankinson is an accomplished quilter. Amanda's grandmother has always won first place in the yearly quilt contest, but Amanda and her friends are determined to help Mrs. Hankinson win instead. To win, Mrs. Hankinson has decided to do a brand new pattern "O the Red Rose Tree" but she needs seven different kinds of red material. Amanda only knows of one red dye that stays bright even when it gets wet. Amanda's search for the seven reds will take her on an adventure. Good story. Especially liked the descriptions of her visit to Portland, OR during the flood.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Volkert

    This is an excellent historical fiction story about four girls who help an elderly woman make a beautiful, unique quilt of roses. It is set in the late 1800s on the Long Beach Penninsua of Washington State on the Pacific coast. While the plot may sound boring, Patricia Beatty makes the act of quilt-making (not to mention the search for just the right fabric) come to life, much as Laura Ingalls Wilder tells of her childhood experiences. This title was recommended by the Washington State Centennial This is an excellent historical fiction story about four girls who help an elderly woman make a beautiful, unique quilt of roses. It is set in the late 1800s on the Long Beach Penninsua of Washington State on the Pacific coast. While the plot may sound boring, Patricia Beatty makes the act of quilt-making (not to mention the search for just the right fabric) come to life, much as Laura Ingalls Wilder tells of her childhood experiences. This title was recommended by the Washington State Centennial Committee in 1989, and was quite popular with upper elementar students in this area at that time. For students who enjoy books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but would like to explore a different part of the country, this title and the companion books, "Sarah and Me and the Lady from the Sea," and "The Nickel-Plated Beauty," are highly recommended. (Written January 30, 2001.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Cute, but not as clever or multi-layered as The Nickel Plated Beauty (it's not a sequel, but set in the same community), and some farfetched incidents. Quilting fans will enjoy it (especially you PNWers, Melody and Shelia). Cute, but not as clever or multi-layered as The Nickel Plated Beauty (it's not a sequel, but set in the same community), and some farfetched incidents. Quilting fans will enjoy it (especially you PNWers, Melody and Shelia).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    This is probably my favorite one by this author. A joy to read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jo

    Re-visiting a childhood favorite when I feel "not so wonderful" is good medicine for me. Too few people know about Patricia Beatty. She needs to be acknowledged as the great writer she was. Re-visiting a childhood favorite when I feel "not so wonderful" is good medicine for me. Too few people know about Patricia Beatty. She needs to be acknowledged as the great writer she was.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Abra

    Re-read 10/6/13; re-read again 11/13/15

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allison Marks

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

  18. 5 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caticorn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly H. (Maybedog)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kylie Sparks

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Mohamed

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Smith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katharyn Bennett

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kai

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