It all starts at home. On the mountain. Three miles up a rutted dirt road, out past Mr. Benny’s apple orchard and over the hill from Nanny Ann’s farm stand. It’s fall, now, my favorite season. And in just a few days, we are going to be having my favorite holiday: Halloween. Yep, out here on Canton Creek Turnpike, it’s time for candy collecting and pumpkin carving.

Papa’s prepping my pumpkin, and I am looking out the window. The sun has almost set, leaving the world soaked in streaks of orange and heavy purple shadows. It’s the best time of day with everything turning gold. The swingset, the river, and the already fallen leaves melt together in the dusk. Our ox, Millament, is walking lazily toward the barn. Going to get warm, I suppose. I bet he wishes he was in here and I sorta do too. The fire is crackling in the woodstove and the house is alive with noises: Mama humming in the kitchen, sisters fussing around the table, and Papa slicing away at the top of that pumpkin.

I’m about to come away from the window and get started, but then a little glimmer of brown flits in and out of the shadows and for a minute it looks like a leaf tumbling in the wind, out of control, but then it lands just below the window and I can see it’s a genuine monarch butterfly. I put my hands up to the glass because that monarch is crazy to be out there this time of year. She wouldn’t have the proper amount of meat on her bones to survive. I’m breathing quick and thinking maybe I had better go and get it to come inside, but I fog up the window with my breath and when the fog disappears, the monarch’s gone. I hope it’s headed south and not trying to prove it can make it through the winter.

Excerpt© 2011 Erin Moulton


About the book:

Big things are about the happen at Maple’s house. Mama’s going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can’t come home from the hospital, Maple knows it’s up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it’s not only Lily’s survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey makes them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other.

What people are saying:

“A heartfelt tale of familial love, with just a touch of magic.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“Moulton is an author to watch, and her debut novel will appeal to girls Maple’s age who prefer action to character realism.” —Booklist

“Moulton describes the girl’s journey–and their motivation–in vivid and heart-wrenching prose.”–Horn Book

Released: May 12, 2011

About the author:

Erin E. Moulton graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and One Incredible Journey(Philomel 2011) Erin is co-founder of the Kinship Writers Association and when she is not writing she works at Springboard After School with lots of silly kids and a bearded dragon named Puff.  Erin lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband and puppy where she writes, reads, drinks tea and dreams.   You can visit her online at www.erinemoulton.com or on Facebook as Erin E. Moulton (Author).