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A Blue-Eyed Daisy

A Blue-Eyed Daisy

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A Blue-Eyed Daisy

4.5/5 (2 ratings)
70 pages
31 minutes
Jun 30, 2008


an amazing year

Ellie Farley's father, Okey, drinks too much, mostly because he hasn't been able to work since he was injured in a mining accident. He hasn't been able to hunt, either, so it's strange when he brings home a hunting dog, a beagle named Bullet.

But Bullet is only the first odd thing that happens to Ellie the year she's eleven. She sees a favorite uncle go off to war; a boy in her class has a fit in the middle of geography and another is accidentally killed while target shooting; and Okey drives his Chevy pickup off the mountain, with near-tragic consequences. But still Ellie manages the ordinary pleasures of making a best friend and getting kissed for the first time -- it's no wonder she confides to Bullet on her twelfth birthday, "Some year."
Jun 30, 2008

About the author

Cynthia Rylant is a Newbery medalist and the author of many acclaimed books for young people. She's well known for her popular characters for early readers, including Mr. Putter & Tabby and Henry & Mudge. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.    

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A Blue-Eyed Daisy - Cynthia Rylant

A Blue-Eyed Daisy

Also by the Author:


Night in the Country

Relatives Came

This Year’s Garden


Waiting to Waltz: A Childhood

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, New York 10020

Text copyright © 1985 by Cynthia Rylant

All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

The text of this book is set in 11-point Bembo.

Printed in the United States of America

20 19 18 17 16

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Rylant, Cynthia. A blue-eyed daisy.

Summary: Relates episodes in the life of eleven-year-old Ellie and her family who live in a coal mining town in West Virginia.

1. Children’s stories, American. [1. Family life—Fiction. 2. West Virginia—Fiction]

I. Title.

PZ7.R982B1   1985   [Fic]   84-21554

ISBN 0-689-84217-1

eISBN: 978-1-439-13255-5



For Gerry


The Prettiest


At the Supper Table


Uncle Joe

Ellie’s Christmas

Crazy Cecile

Ellie’s Valentine


Okey’s Song

Best Friends

Ellie Sees a Fit

A Lovely Night


The Accident

Old Lady Epperly

Some Year


The Prettiest

ELLIE’S FATHER WAS A DRINKING MAN. EVERYBODY knew it. Couldn’t help knowing it because when Okey Farley was drunk he always jumped in his red and white Chevy truck and made the rocks fly up and down the mountains.

He had been a coal miner. Drank then, too, but just on weekends. A lot of miners drank on the weekend to scare away the coming week.

Okey had been hurt in a slate fall, so he couldn’t work anymore. Just stayed home and drank.

Ellie was his youngest daughter, the youngest of five. She didn’t look anything like Okey or her mother, both of whom had shiny black hair and dark eyes.

Ellie was fair. Her hair was nearly white and her skin pale like snow cream. Ellie was a pretty girl, but her teeth were getting rotten and she always hid them with her hand when she laughed.

Ellie loved her father, but she was afraid of him. Because when he drank he usually yelled, or cried or hit her mother. At those times Ellie stayed in her room and prayed.

One day Okey did a strange thing. He brought home a beagle. Her father couldn’t hunt because his right arm wasn’t strong enough to manage a rifle anymore. But there he was with a beagle he called Bullet.

He made Bullet a house. Spent the whole weekend making it and didn’t even stop to take a drink.

Then Bullet was tied up to his house, and he kept them all awake three nights in a row with his howling.

Okey would not explain why he’d bought a hunting dog when he couldn’t hunt. He just sat on the porch with a bottle in his hand (he’d taken it up again) and looked at Bullet.

Ellie was the only one of Okey’s children who took an interest in his pet. The older girls were not impressed by a dog.

But Ellie, fair and quiet, liked the beagle and was interested in her father’s liking for it. And when Okey was sober, she’d sit with him on the porch and they’d talk about Bullet.

Neither of them could remember later who mentioned it first, but somehow the subject of hunting came up one day, and, hardly knowing she was saying it, Ellie announced she wanted to learn how to hunt.

Okey laughed long and hard. In fact, he had a little whiskey down his throat and nearly choked to death on it. Ellie slapped his back about fifty times.

The next time they sat together, though, she said it again. And this time more firmly, for she’d given it some thought. And Okey set down his bottle and listened.

He tested her. He set up some cans, showed her how to handle his rifle, then stepped back to watch. The first day she missed them all. The second day she hit one. The fifth day she hit four out of nine.

So when she brought up

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  • (4/5)
    Pellucid prose and an approachable narrator combine to make this a warm story with flashes of pain. A slice of West Virginia coal-mining town life from the point of view of 11 year old Ellie.