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Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

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Bethany Brant is the daughter of a preacher, but she finds it hard to live up to her fathers high expectations for her, especially with her natural bent for finding trouble. When Bethany and her younger brother, Abel, are sent to live with relatives after their mother dies in childbirth, the plucky eleven-year-old tries to act like a minister’s child is expected to—she hel Bethany Brant is the daughter of a preacher, but she finds it hard to live up to her fathers high expectations for her, especially with her natural bent for finding trouble. When Bethany and her younger brother, Abel, are sent to live with relatives after their mother dies in childbirth, the plucky eleven-year-old tries to act like a minister’s child is expected to—she helps around the farmhouse with the endless chores; uncomplainingly tutors her tomboy cousin, Mattywill, in reading; and agrees to be the angel in the Christmas pageant to help raise money for her father’s church, even though she hates the thought of flying across the stage on ropes. But sometimes being truly good just is not possible. Wouldn’t even the best-behaved preacher’s daughter be sorely tried if her resentful cousin put frogs in her bed, or if she found out that the man in charge of raising the church money ended each of his fund-raising campaigns in the nearby saloon? Set in turn-of-the-century rural Texas, Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant is by turns hilarious and touching, and always entertaining. Bethany is one of Patricia Beatty’s spunkiest and most human heroines, and her story will long be remembered by readers. "Beatty is noted for feisty heroines in carefully researched novels set in frontier America. Here, Bethany, doing her best to conform to her preacher father’s expectations, may seem at first like a new departure; but the way she follows her conscience demands a special, courageous independence, much in Beatty’s usual vein. When Mama dies in childbirth, Pa takes Bethany and Abel to stay with relatives on a Texas ranch while he becomes a circuit rider. Since tomboy cousin Mattywill prefers outdoor work, Bethany is left to help Aunt Revs with housework and the baby. Uncomplaining but pining for the outdoors, she is repeatedly cast by adults as the good gift and, inevitably, is resented by Mattywill and the other children in school. But because Bethany is also fundamentally kind, honest, and (when driven to it) outspoken, she eventually wins their respect… Bethany's story is briskly told and vividly evokes turn-of-the-century Texas." Kirkus Review


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Bethany Brant is the daughter of a preacher, but she finds it hard to live up to her fathers high expectations for her, especially with her natural bent for finding trouble. When Bethany and her younger brother, Abel, are sent to live with relatives after their mother dies in childbirth, the plucky eleven-year-old tries to act like a minister’s child is expected to—she hel Bethany Brant is the daughter of a preacher, but she finds it hard to live up to her fathers high expectations for her, especially with her natural bent for finding trouble. When Bethany and her younger brother, Abel, are sent to live with relatives after their mother dies in childbirth, the plucky eleven-year-old tries to act like a minister’s child is expected to—she helps around the farmhouse with the endless chores; uncomplainingly tutors her tomboy cousin, Mattywill, in reading; and agrees to be the angel in the Christmas pageant to help raise money for her father’s church, even though she hates the thought of flying across the stage on ropes. But sometimes being truly good just is not possible. Wouldn’t even the best-behaved preacher’s daughter be sorely tried if her resentful cousin put frogs in her bed, or if she found out that the man in charge of raising the church money ended each of his fund-raising campaigns in the nearby saloon? Set in turn-of-the-century rural Texas, Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant is by turns hilarious and touching, and always entertaining. Bethany is one of Patricia Beatty’s spunkiest and most human heroines, and her story will long be remembered by readers. "Beatty is noted for feisty heroines in carefully researched novels set in frontier America. Here, Bethany, doing her best to conform to her preacher father’s expectations, may seem at first like a new departure; but the way she follows her conscience demands a special, courageous independence, much in Beatty’s usual vein. When Mama dies in childbirth, Pa takes Bethany and Abel to stay with relatives on a Texas ranch while he becomes a circuit rider. Since tomboy cousin Mattywill prefers outdoor work, Bethany is left to help Aunt Revs with housework and the baby. Uncomplaining but pining for the outdoors, she is repeatedly cast by adults as the good gift and, inevitably, is resented by Mattywill and the other children in school. But because Bethany is also fundamentally kind, honest, and (when driven to it) outspoken, she eventually wins their respect… Bethany's story is briskly told and vividly evokes turn-of-the-century Texas." Kirkus Review

32 review for Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant: Illustrated Historical Fiction for Teens

  1. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I acquired Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant from the library book sale a few years ago. Bethany Brant, the heroine, is a preacher's kid. The book is set near the turn of the twentieth century. And it's set in Texas. It felt like it could be a very good fit for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I expected it to be. The book opens with Bethany Brant visiting a fortune teller at a fair or carnival. Her parents are busy listening to live music; her brother, Abel, is off on his own. Bethany knows I acquired Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant from the library book sale a few years ago. Bethany Brant, the heroine, is a preacher's kid. The book is set near the turn of the twentieth century. And it's set in Texas. It felt like it could be a very good fit for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I expected it to be. The book opens with Bethany Brant visiting a fortune teller at a fair or carnival. Her parents are busy listening to live music; her brother, Abel, is off on his own. Bethany knows her parents wouldn't approve of her visiting a fortune teller, of her wasting her money on such a thing, of her giving so much of her time and thought to what the fortune teller says. But. Bethany Brant does, at least on this occasion, exactly what she wants. The entire book is centered around what the fortune teller said. She was told at least three specific things: something bad was going to happen, there were elephants in her future, and that a one-eyed man would befriend her in her greatest need. The book chronicles Bethany through all three "prophecies" (for lack of a better word.) It follows her for almost two years. A lot does happen to turn Bethany's world upside down. And in many ways, the book is just your average coming-of-age story. I liked this one. But I certainly didn't love it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miss Amanda

    gr 4-6 166 pgs 1898 Texas. When her mother dies, Bethany and her brother Abel are left to live with their aunt, uncle, and cousins while their father, a preacher, rides his circuit. Bethany is used to everyone telling her she needs to be good because she is a preacher's daughter. But she finds that even harder when no matter how hard she tries she just can't seem to get along with her cousin. Over the course of the story, Bethany isn't the only one who learns a lesson. Everyone from Bethany's cou gr 4-6 166 pgs 1898 Texas. When her mother dies, Bethany and her brother Abel are left to live with their aunt, uncle, and cousins while their father, a preacher, rides his circuit. Bethany is used to everyone telling her she needs to be good because she is a preacher's daughter. But she finds that even harder when no matter how hard she tries she just can't seem to get along with her cousin. Over the course of the story, Bethany isn't the only one who learns a lesson. Everyone from Bethany's cousin to the community also are faced with situations that encourage them to change their ways.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  9. 4 out of 5

    CLAU: Children's Literature Association of Utah

  10. 5 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  12. 4 out of 5

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  13. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wendyb

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hailee

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

  17. 5 out of 5

    drowningmermaid

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelduiniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jean

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abra

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pier Larsen

  22. 4 out of 5

    P.M.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan Laine

  24. 4 out of 5

    Devi Gardner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dawn cline

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vesra (When She Reads)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cat

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lu Benke

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan Roitmire

  31. 4 out of 5

    Melaney

  32. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Sprague

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