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Mrs. M is working hard to complete a study guide to go along with the new books, Yosemite at Last and Stranger in the Glade. During the course of thinking up activities, a “characterization” activity came to mine, accompanied by riddles that allow the reader/student to guess the “cousin” based on how they look, how they talk, and their inner personality. The best part was finding pictures to portray the cousins. Here’s what I came up with for the kids and their ages based on the story “Nanny Riley” in book 6 in 1889. I thought you might get a kick out of seeing the pictures and learning a little bit about each child.
Levi Joseph Swanson
Levi is eighteen years old and in the culture of that day, a grown man. Boys his age hired on as cowhands all over the west. Because of his absent father, Troy, Levi has stayed close to home to care for his mother, Kate. He has grown from the horrid boy when Andi first met him to a stable and considerate young man.
Fun fact. This picture of Levi is the same boy from the cover of Family Secret grown up.
Elizabeth Kate Swanson
Betsy is fifteen years old and still “young” in many ways. Riley does not let her take the horse and ride for town, even though Andi at her age was in charge of an entire horse remuda. Betsy is shy and eager to please. She is wonderful with little children.
Hannah Joy Swanson
Hannah is a dreamy twelve-year-old, often escaping to her own imaginary world. One wonders if the trauma in her early childhood makes her want to find a happy, “safe” place of her own making. She is forgetful when set to a task. But she does have a screeching temper when so inclined. Her eyes are cornflower blue and her hair as pale as wheat.
Samuel James Carter
Sammy is a very precocious five-and-a-half-year-old at the time of “Nanny Riley.” He rides his own horse out to Memory Creek with Levi and often takes charge of his younger cousins. He is Justin all over again, yet with the nut-brown eyes of his mother, Lucy.
Andrea Grace Carter
Gracie is three and a half and full of life. She follows her big brother everywhere. She loves her daddy and mama and Sammy, but most of all she loves her cousin Susie. Gracie is quieter than Susie but the two cousins often get into a row, like the time they fought over Aunt Andi’s pearl-handled hairbrush. Not a pretty sight.
Susianna Mae Carter
Susie Carter is a firecracker, even at two and a half years old. She has auburn curls that stick out wildly all over her head, especially after a fast ride with her father, Chad, on his horse, Sky. She inherited her mother, Ellie’s, hazel eyes. Although younger than Gracie by a full year, she sometimes takes the lead.
Jared Riley Prescott
Jared has just turned two at the time of “Nanny Riley.” He is the youngest cousin (until Melinda’s baby is born after the story) and works hard to keep up. He’s blond like his grandma, his Uncle Mitch, and his Aunt Melinda. He loves “horsies” as much as he loves his mama and daddy.
Sneak Peeks of the Rest of the Cousins
William John Wilson
This is Melinda and Peter’s first baby. Melinda waited patiently for five years to finally be blessed with their little son. Here he is at six months old, born October 1889. He has wispy brown hair and light-blue eyes.
Thomas Andrew Carter
Thomas is Chad and Ellie’s newest baby, born April 1890. He joins his firecracker of a sister, Susie, who is three. He has Ellie’s auburn hair and Chad’s blue eyes.
Charlotte Faith and Lillian Joy Prescott
Andi and Riley’s identical twin girls are born three weeks early, June 1890, as the result of a tumble Andi takes into the basement of Kate’s home in San Francisco. An earthquake is a scary setting in which to be born, but the twins thrive. They have blue eyes and Andi’s dark hair.