2003 National Book Award Winner:
Young People's Literature

Polly Horvath

The Canning Season

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

About the Book

When her mother decides that she needs to devote her summer to gaining entrance into a prestigious country club, Ratchet Clark is shipped off from her native Pensacola, Florida, to live in rural Maine with her 91-year-old twin aunts, Tilly and Penpen. Though wildly eccentric, the aunts manage to make Ratchet feel loved for the first time in her life. Penpen's insistence that we must always admit whoever shows up at the door often results in visits from bothersome guests. But as Ratchet learns, an unwelcome visitor may have more to offer than it seems.

About the Author

Polly Horvath is the author of five previous books for young readers including The Trolls, which was a National Book Award Finalist in 1999. Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ms. Horvath studied dance in Toronto and New York before turning to writing full time. She and her husband have two daughters and live in Metchosin, British Columbia.

Selected Backlist

Everything on a Waffle
The Happy Yellow Car
No More Cornflakes
The Trolls

When the Circus Came to Town


"I'm going where?" Ratchet gasped.


"Maine?" Ratchet cried. "Why am I going there?"

"You're spending the summer with great-second cousins, Tilly and Penpen Menuto. You can just call them aunts. I called them Aunt Tilly and Aunt Penpen, and they always referred to me as their niece. You can be a niece, too. Who says 'Great-second cousin once-removed Tilly' or whatever it would be. It's too much of a mouthful. They're some distant relatives or other. I'd almost forgotten about them. I used to spend summers with them. You're old enough now to get some away-from-home experience, and that's the only free place I could think of.

"I'm going tonight? Why didn't you tell me before?"

"I thought it would make a nice surprise. Come on, hurry up, it's going to take two days to get there. I've got train and bus tickets for you. You'll like sleeping on the train. The clickety-clack and all that. Here's your itinerary. Hurry up, Ratchet, get your coat."

From THE CANNING SEASON © 2003 by Polly Horvath. Used with the permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.