Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M.M. Blume. (Grades 5-7)
I think there must be some rule that at least one Caudill nominee must have an intriguing and unwieldy title. Of the 2008 nominees, I think The Misadventures of Maude March, or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse takes that honor. Of the 2009 nominees, I am happy to bestow that honor on Cornelia.
Unfortunately, Cornelia, despite its intriguing title, is not one of my favorite books. I read it in March and this is what I had to say:
"Cornelia is a lonely little girl whose famous pianist mother often leaves her alone while she goes on trips. Having a famous mother is a burden for Cornelia, who feels like most people she meets are more interested in her mother than they are in her. Until she meets her new next-door neighbor- Virginia Somerset. Virginia is the only grown-up that's ever treated Cornelia like she was her own person and Cornelia grows to relish hearing Virginia's stories of her travels with her sisters.
There's not a lot of plot in this book- the bulk of the book is made up of Virginia's stories. Even so, you get to know the Somerset sisters a bit and their escapades can be funny. The book seemed a bit too long to me and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending..."
I tend to like books that have a lot of character development and relationships between characters. From what I remember, Cornelia was more concentrated on the exotic settings of the adventures the Somerset sisters had. It just wasn't my kind of book... or perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it when I read it...