Chapters 1 and 2
So far I like the book… I didn’t think I would. But never judge a book by its cover! Horse racing is like a sport and I love sports. Charlotte has had a sad and scary life losing her parents and now having to be in an orphanage. She loves horses even though her parents were killed in an accident that involved horses. But Mr Millshark does not want her racing anymore or working in the stables and now her good friend Hayward is being adopted. She is losing everything she loves. I think something good will happen for her eventually though.
I’m so glad you decided to I’ve the book a chance. It really is a great, adventurous book!
When you say that Mr. Milkshark does not want her racing, why does he say that? What does that show you about Mr. Milkshark’s personality (and William?) and about the time period? How were women/girls thought of during that time?
Chapter 3 and Chapter 4
What do Vern and Hayward do to help Charlotte? What does this show about the kind of people they are? Is important to have people like this in your life? Why?
What advice does Vern give Charlotte? How does the advice help Charlotte? Has anyone ever given you advice?
Why do you think Charlotte chose to sleep in a loft? Are there places are things that make you feel most comfortable or calm?
Mr Millshark says riding is not for girls. He is trying to tell her she is not smart and not responsible because she rode a sick horse so now he says she cannot work in the stables. Men and women were not equals at the time of the book. Mr. Millshark and William are mean. They are trying to hold Charlotte back even though she is a better rider than most of the boys.
Vern and Hayward help Charlotte run away. Vern gives her money for the coach ride and Hayward gives her the boy clothes to help her to disguise herself so no one asks too many questions. Vern tells her to be careful and not to get caught.
Charlotte loves horses more than anything. She sleeps in the loft because it is in a horse stable and that makes her feel comfortable and it is familiar to her.
She is cleaning the stables and now makes a deal to work for free if she can eat and sleep there. Ebeneezer gives her a chance and probably figured out she was the runaway girl. He helps her to learn to drive a coach with 6 horses and offers to take her to RI, where he is moving his business. He is impressed with how she works with the horses and does not want to lose her. I think he also thinks the man who came looking for her — Millshark — is mean and he is protecting her.
Nice work, Christian. Vern also tells Charlotte she needs to do what her heart tells her. What does he mean by that. Is she following his advice in the rest of the book?
Chapter 6 and 7
Why do you think Charlotte keeps her disguise even after she turns 18?
What did Charley do to Mr. Milkshark? Why?
Why do you think Ebeneezer tells Charley all these negative things about California?
Vern means she should do what is going to make her happy. So far she is following her heart by making her own way and working with horses.
She keeps her disguise so she can drive the horses and no one will bother her.
When Mr Millshark rides in her coach, she gets it stuck in the mud on purpose and makes him get out and help her push the wheels out while she leaves the women all sitting in the coach. She tells him he should take off his nice boots and socks which he does. Then when they arrive, he could not find his boots. She told him they must have fallen off the coach but she had hidden them underneath. She gave them to Ebeneezer. It was her way of getting back at him for how mean he was to her in the orphanage.
Ebeneezer does not want Charley to go to California because he does not want to lose his best driver. And also because he won’t be there to protect her.
She does go by boat to California and when she gets there, she sees a woman passing out flyers about women being able to vote. Charley tells the woman that she is braver than he is… instead of a woman fighting for women, he is pretending to be a man.
Nice job, Christian. She really taught Mr. Milshark a lesson!
What does the fact that Charley went to California even though Ebeneezer doesn’t want her to? I think Charley also shows this trait when she speaks to the women about voting.
Chapter 8 and Chapter 9
What happens to Charley? How does she deal with it? What does that show about her personality?
Why couldn’t Charley get Margaret off her mind?
Charley and Hayward were able to act as if they had just seen each other yesterday. What does this show you about their friendship? Why was their friendship an important part of this whole book?
I’m sorry — I was away and couldn’t blog. (and i didn’t read as much as I was reading at home… too much to do!) But I did ride a horse by myself for the first time. It was REALLY fun! But the stable was smelly. I think Charley is very brave. Charley was kicked by a horse in the eye. But she didn’t let that stop her. She knew she could still be a great driver and she proved herself by practicing the runs with the coach until she new them by heart. She got those people across the bridge safely! I still have to read the last chapter….
That’s awesome, Christian. How appropriate for this book. Now you probably have some text to self connections you can make after riding a horse.
When you said she kept practicing, we can describe her as persistent (which means to keep trying) and determined. Have you ever tried as hard as she did at something you really wanted to accomplish?
I have tried very hard at something — hockey! I have been working really hard and have gotten much better at it. We won the championship this year — and I played on both the first and second place teams. I have a gold and a silver medal!
I think Charley can’t get Margaret off her mind because Margaret is a woman out on her own and she is having trouble paying the bills and managing. Charley knows those could have just as easily been the kinds of troubles she would have had had she not decided to pose as a man. She helped Margaret just like Ebeneezer helped her.
Charley and Hayward’s friendship is important because they made plans together when they were young in the orphanage for how they wanted their lives to be. Charlotte said she would buy her own land and they would have their own ranch and Hayward said he’d put up a big sign that said “Private Property” . That is just what they did! Everything Charley did throughout the story was to make sure that dream came true . She still had a hard life and worked hard, but she did what she loved and she achieved her goals. She even got to vote.
I was very surprised to learn at the end that this was based on a true story!
I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I know at the beginning you weren’t sure about how it was going to turn out.
I agree with you that the friendships she had helped her continue to pursue her dream of owning land. Do you think if she didn’t have these friendships that she still would have been able to reach her dream? Do you have any friendships that really help you?
I am not sure…I think Charley was very set on changing her life. Maybe she would not have had as much courage if she had nobody to help her. One of my friends sometimes encourages me to go with him to more free skates to practice skating for hockey. That helps me….I am going to be trying out for travel hockey soon… I am not sure I will make it. But I have gotten much better this year in house league and camp
I agree that her friends encouraged her and gave her more courage to continue trying to reach her goals. I also agree that Charley is a very determined person and more likely would have continued on because she new what she wanted. It is important to remember all of the help her friends gave her along that way that allowed her to be able to continue pursuing her dream. For example, Ebeneezer did not share her secret with anyone and allowed her to work at his barn. If he had not, what do you think could have happened?
It is so great and important to have friends who encourage you. I am so lucky to have a great group of teachers at Ox Ridge who help me every day, just like you have the friend who encourages you in hockey. I am sure you can make many connections to this book in trying your hardest to reach your goals in hockey, just like Charley did.
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