Study Guide

Missing May Family

By Cynthia Rylant

Family

Little Summer doesn't exactly start out with a hunky dory Brady Bunch family structure in Missing May. She's an orphan and most of her immediate family isn't exactly thrilled to be taking on another mouth to feed, but when she comes to live with Aunt May and Uncle Ob, she finally knows what it's like to have a real family. When Aunt May dies, Summer and Uncle Ob are worried about what will happen to their little family—but it turns out they just have to rework things in order to keep their family intact.

Questions About Family

  1. Does Summer consider Uncle Ob and Aunt May her parents? Why or why not? 
  2. What is Cletus's family like? Do they all think he's a huge nerd (like everyone at school does)? 
  3. What do you think Summer and Uncle Ob's new interpretation of family is going to be now that Aunt May is gone? 
  4. Does your family look anything like Summer's? How so?

Chew on This

By taking care of her and loving her, Uncle Ob and Aunt May become more like parents to Summer than her own—or her relatives in Ohio—ever were.

Summer and Cletus's respective family backgrounds both factor into how they approach the world as they grow older, and because of their backgrounds Summer is more cautious and Cletus is more dreamlike and secure.

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