Parents' Guide to

Call Me Floy

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Spirited, nature-loving tween in fact-packed Yosemite tale.

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Based on a real person, author Joanna Cooke's fact-filled tale sees the early history of Yosemite National Park through the eyes of its first White native, an 11-year-old girl. Florence (Floy) Hutchings had become a character in pop fiction by the time she was 8, and her "untamed" nature comes through in the narrator's impassioned outbursts. So does her tendency -- obviously acquired from her father, who promoted tourism in the valley -- to lecture people at length about natural phenomena and other subjects she finds fascinating. Some readers of Call Me Floy will be more fascinated than others, but as a publication of the Yosemite Conservancy, it's a great resource for learning about the park and its history. Through it all, Floy loves the wilderness and hates the expectation that she should be a "young lady," and her experiences will strike a chord with many -- as here, when she delivers one of her father's lectures that she knows by heart only to find herself and her knowledge not taken seriously:

"Then her eyes flit to my legs -- or rather to the dress Grandmother insists I wear to school, and I know.

"To her, I am just an eleven-year-old girl, and I should neither know nor speak of such things. I wish it weren't so hard for her to believe I have something to contribute. Cosie and I grew up listening to Father exchange ideas with all manner of scientists, artists, and philosophers. In fact, Father has always encouraged us to engage in their great debates. There is not an ounce of Yosemite's history I do not know. No trail I have not climbed -- except Half Dome, of course. But she knows none of this."

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