Katerina and her family moved to America in the early 1900s to achieve the American dream: owning a prosperous farm. A year later, however, the family still lives in a coal mining village, living paycheck to paycheck.
In "Katerina's Wish," a spark ignites in Katerina when she hears an old Czech folktale about a fish that grants three wishes. Katerina spots a carp in the stream near the family's home. Is it the magic carp from the folktale?
Katerina wants to believe in the magic, but decides that fairy tales are for children, not young ladies like her. Her younger sisters believe in the magic carp, and wish for plum dumplings and blue hair ribbons. Coincidentally, Aneshka gets her plum dumplings for dinner and Holena finds two blue hair ribbons. Katerina begins to wonder whether there is some magic in the carp she saw. Instead of wishing for her dream of going back to Bohemia, Katerina puts her family first and uses the third wish for Papa's dream: a family farm.
Soon enough, it seems like Katerina's wish will come true. She earns money by fishing and selling her catch to the villagers. She then uses her money to buy three chickens and a pocketful of seeds to start a garden. After a few weeks of hard work, Katerina's garden starts to sprout, and the chickens produce eggs. This brings high spirits to the family, and they start to believe that a farm is possible.
Just when the family's dreams start to come true, tragedy strikes. An explosion in the coal mine traps Papa underground. The family waits by the mine to hear news, and it takes days for Papa to escape. To make matters worse, when Katerina returns home, she finds her chickens dead and her garden trampled. The family's dreams of a prosperous farm are crushed.
Just when the family accepts that dreams don't come true, an opportunity arises. Will they finally achieve the American dream? Or will their dreams be crushed once again?
"Katerina's Wish" is an inspiring tale about dreaming big and believing in those dreams. Czech folktales are told throughout the story and are a delight to read. The characters' determination and belief in their dreams show that hard work and helping others are the keys to success.
Recommended for children ages 8 and older.