In the previous book, The Year of Miss Agnes, it's 1948 and a new teacher comes to teach in the tiny Athabascan village on the Koyukuk River in Alaska. Ten-year-old Fred tells why Miss Agnes is the best teacher they've ever had in their one-room school, and different in every way. ln the sequel, Miss Agnes and the Ginger Tom, their wonderful teacher is back. And she's brought a cat, the first they've ever seen. But how long will she stay? Miss Agnes has arranged for her extraordinarily gifted student, Jimmy Sam, to go away to a college prep school outside. If he can pass the test. Miss Agnes starts Jimmy on a rigorous program of study for the test and Fred and the others learn right along with him. The whole village is part of Miss Agnes' school. She's brought boxes of books and soon everyone in town is reading something from the school bookshelves. And she's brought a movie projector so the village people can see movies for the first time. The village's anxiety increases as the school year goes on, waiting for Jimmy's test. Grandma says it's hutlaanee, bad luck, to talk about the test, but they can't help it. If Jimmy doesn't pass it he will have to leave school next year to do a man's work with his father and brother, all his dreams of being a scientist come to thing.
Kirkpatrick Hill was raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, received her teacher training from Syracuse University in New York and was an elementary school teacher for more than thirty years, most of that time in the Alaskan bush. All of her previous books are set in Alaska: Toughboy and Sister, Winter Camp, The Year of Miss Agnes, Minuk, Dancing in the Odinochka and Do Not Pass Go. She currently lives in Fairbanks in the winter and the family home on the Yukon for some of the summer. She is the mother of six children and has nine grandchildren and two great- grandchildren.