Cover image for The return of Calico Bright
The return of Calico Bright
Winkler, David, 1946-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2003]

Physical Description:
343 pages ; 22 cm
Sixteen-year-old Calico Weston's idyllic middle-class life quickly falls apart at the seams while she researches the story of her improbable nineteenth-century namesake, Calico Bright.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.8 13.0 74165.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An epic coming-of-age story She suspects her boyfriend of cheating and her best friend of betrayal. But that's not the worst of sixteen-year-old Callie Weston's sorrows. The unveiling of not just one but two of her mother's deceptions has driven Callie to despair. With an unlikely companion, she heads off into the wild and beautiful Madras Mountains to capture the spirit of her great-great- great-great-grandmother Calico Bright, a nineteenth-century frontierswoman and family legend. But in so doing, she gets more than she bargains for and discovers Calico Bright in the unlikeliest of places. The Return of Calico Bright forces its protagonist to confront not only her own adolescent sorrows but the seamy underbelly of a nation's identity, in which racial hatred lurks in surprising places. The stakes are high and the outcome critical, but in the crucible of raw experience Callie emerges from her ancestor's heroic shadow in ways she never would have imagined.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 9-12. Playing multiple variations on the theme of never judging people by appearances, Winkler propels overweight, socially invisible teenager Callie through a harrowing ride into selfhood. An unexpected cameo on television news brightens Callie's future, but only until she sees her best friend hanging with her hot, new boyfriend, learns that her parents are splitting up after she catches her mother in the act with another man, and discovers that Calico Bright, an adventurous, hard-bitten, husband-killing ancestor, is a figment of her mom's imagination. Eager to get away for a while, Callie joins a wilderness hike and falls into a series of adventures rivaling any of Calico's--including a wild flight from white supremacists that culminates in a gun battle with its psychopathic founders. Winkler gives his breathless tale enough plot for three novels, and he fills out the large cast with simple but strongly delineated characters, the unlikeliest of them consistently coming through in the pinch. Readers will be amused, amazed, horrified, and, most of all, engrossed by the experiences of this seemingly ordinary 16-year-old, who turns out to be as tough as her fictional ancestor. --John Peters Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Callie Weston, 16, is a suburban Oregon teen. Throughout her childhood, her mother has read to her from her great-great-great-great-grandmother's journal, sharing the adventures of her namesake, frontierswoman Calico Bright. Now Callie's safe and predictable life has started to unravel. Her parents' marriage is failing, she's a witness to a crime, and her friend Jakeeta is moving. To make some sense of her life, Callie decides to begin a project to write about her kinswoman. Shocked to discover that the journal had been created by her mother, Callie decides to head out into the wild with her African-Hispanic-American friend, Trotter, and a mule named Hanna, to do research for her own book. In the Madras Mountains, she runs afoul of a band of racists who mean to kill her and Trotter, and a strange mountain man helps nurse her back to health after a dangerous fall. Calico Bright is both a coming-of-age and an authentic action-adventure novel. Callie learns that there are evil people in her world and that it's often ordinary people who act, despite their fear, to stop them. She becomes like the Calico of the journal, a woman who will face all danger to remain true to herself and her beliefs. The book is a nice mix of contemporary teen life, adventure, and historical fiction.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.