The Canning Season

The Canning SeasonOne night out of the blue, Ratchet Clark's ill-natured mother tells her that Ratchet will be leaving their Pensacola apartment momentarily to take the train up north. There she will spend the summer with her aged relatives Penpen and Tilly, inseparable twins who couldn't look more different from each other.

Staying at their secluded house, Ratchet is treated to a passel of strange family history and local lore, along with heaps of generosity and care that she has never experienced before. Also, Penpen has recently espoused a new philosophy – whatever shows up on your doorstep you have to let in.

Through thick wilderness, down forgotten, bear-ridden roads, come a variety of characters, drawn to Penpen and Tilly's open door. It is with vast reservations that the cautious Tilly allows these unwelcome guests in. But it turns out that unwelcome guests may bring the greatest gifts.

By turns dark and humorous, Polly Horvath offers adolescent readers enough quirky characters and outrageous situations to leave them reeling!


      • The National Book Award for Young People's Literature
      • 2004 Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year
      • The Horn Book's Honor List
      • Kirkus Editor's Choice
      • An American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults Fanfare
      • NYC Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
      • Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
      • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
      • Chicago Tribune Best Books of 2003
      • Washington Post Best Books of 2003


"Horvath outdoes herself . . . Offbeat, slapstick humor is mitigated by poignancy in Horvath's distinctive rollicking style. . .Ratchet, Tilly, and Penpen become larger than life and unforgettable." —School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"Horvath tops even Everything on a Waffle (2001) with this hilarious, heartrending tale of two unwanted children left with a pair of eccentric old ladies. .. .Once again Horvath displays a genius for creating multigenerational, interestingly extended families, and for blending high and low comedy into a tale rife with important themes and life-changing events." —Kirkus Reviews

"Unruly, unpredictable and utterly compelling, Horvath's newest is even more startling than her Everything on a Waffle . . . Horvath's descriptive powers are singular . . . her uncensored Mad Hatter wit simply delicious, her storytelling skills consummate."— Publisher's Weekly

Watch the trailer

Hear Chapter 1