Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Main Page
Author List
Title List
New This Month
Interest Level
Subject List
Booktalking Tips
Book Review Sources
Reading lists
Nancy Keane's Children's Website


Click on the book to read Amazon reviews


Yep, Laurence.
New York : HarperCollins, 2002.
IL 3-6, RL 5.7
ISBN  0060293268

4 booktalks

Booktalk #1

Ursula and her family run the stagecoach station in Whistle, Montana.  Ursula loves living there and has turned her group of friends into a “band of blood thirsty pirates.”  Then Ursula gets smallpox.  Even when she is well, she refuses to leave her house because of her smallpox scars.  Ursula’s parents try many ways to entice her to leave the house but only through the efforts of their new Chinese cook, Ah Sam, does Ursula finally decide to rejoin her community and friends.  To find out how Ursula makes that decision and how she thanks Ah Sam for helping her, read When the Circus Came to Town.
Prepared by: Sue Bennett for South Carolina Children's Book Award

Booktalk #2

My name is Ursula and I live in Whistle, Montana.  Ma and Pa run a stagecoach station and I get to see a lot of travelers passing through town.  I caught small pox and it left my face very scarred.  I don't want to leave my bedroom and I don't even want to see my two best friends, Susie and Peter.  They miss me a lot and keep coming to visit me.  I wish they would stop trying to see me.  The one thing I would really love to see is a circus.  But that's impossible now.  Ma and Pa hired a Chinese cook, Ah Sam. He's a nice man and I feel sorry for him sometimes because people make fun of him.  But Ah Sam is a very wise man and he has planned a big surprise for me.  I have a big surprise for him too.  Read When The Circus Came To Town by Laurence Yep to find out what happens when Ah Sam's three cousins come to town.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #3

                    Nine-year-old Ursula lives in Whistle, Montana in the early 1900’s.  Her pa calls it “the back of beyond” because it’s so far from civilization.  But Ursula finds lots to do-leading her friends on pirate adventures, reading, helping out with the stagecoach station her parents run.  Then IT happens.  Ursula catches smallpox, and though she lives, her face is pitted and scarred.  She can’t face the world for fear of being made fun of, and her world becomes her room-until the Chinese cook her parents hired invites his cousins to come and put on a circus for the people in Whistle.  Ursula is lured out of her room to play music for the circus, and she conquers her fears and rediscovers all the joys life has to offer.  (Mary Lou Wallace,, East Aiken Elementary School Media Center, Aiken, SC)

Booktalk #4

SUBJECTS:     Self-esteem -- Fiction.
                        Frontier and pioneer life -- Montana -- Fiction.
                        Chinese New Year -- Fiction.
                        Circus -- Fiction.
                        Chinese Americans -- Fiction.
                        Smallpox -- Fiction.
                        Montana -- History -- Fiction.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.