Module 4: Missing May
Rylant, C. (1993). Missing May. New York: Yearling
A story of loss and learning to go on, Missing May tells the story of Summer and her Uncle Ob who are struggling after the death of Aunt May. They begin a journey to find a sign from May as a way to ease their sorrow.
What Did I Think?
This book was a tear-jerker filled with realistic emotions from Summer and Ob. The loss of her aunt is heartbreaking for Summer and she spends her time worrying about Ob and missing her aunt. Filled with emotion, I found this book to be a true picture of learning to live after the death of a loved one.
This wonderful book revolves around a few delightfully named characters: Summer, Uncle Ob, Aunt May and Cletus Underwood. After being passed among relatives, Summer joins her aunt and uncle and marvels at the couple’s deep love for one another. But after Aunt May dies, Summer and Uncle Ob are brought together in their struggles to come to terms with the death. Cletus, a neighbor boy, comes along to help provide an answer. This simple and sweet story, which won the Newbery Medal
in 1993, is injected with just the right touches of humor and mysticism.
From Publishers Weekly
This short novel is a study of grief–chiefly, that felt by Summer after her foster mother’s sudden death, but also her sorrow at witnessing the grief of Ob, her foster father–she realizes that she herself may not be reason enough for him to go on living. And for several months it seems as if he may not in fact go on, until Summer and Ob take a short car trip that somehow transforms their lives. In a direct, matter-of-fact voice occasionally laced with irony and wry humor, Summer articulates many discerning insights about sorrow and loss. The reader remains a distant observer of her emotions, however–perhaps because the novel begins after May’s death, making her a less immediate figure, perhaps because Summer’s perceptions are quite sophisticated, even adult. And the novel’s emotional turning point is difficult to grasp, either verbally or intuitively: all Summer, and we, know is that “something happened to Ob” to make him embrace life fully again. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book could be used to explore the topic of death and dealing with the loss of a loved one. Students could examine feelings of loss they have experienced and identify ways they were able to move on from that loss. It would be a good book to use in collaboration with a counseling lesson on the same topic and perhaps as a book study for students dealing with loss.