A Summer in a Cañon is a remarkable story of a late 19th-century California life from the point of view of a group of teens and children on the summertime adventure of their lives. The book is following lives of Polly Oliver and her friends and cousins a year or so before she takes off for San Francisco to earn a living and save her mother from destitution. It is a fun chronicle of a summer vacation, during which Polly writes some very clever and humorous letters home, to an invalid cousin in Santa Barbara, where she describes things such as a tarantula fight and donkey riding. Polly Oliver's Problem continues to follow Polly after she comes back from holyday and starts working on her life dream, which is becoming a kindergarten teacher. But her mother, who runs a boarding house, gets ill and Polly must take responsibility. When the doctor suggests a change of climate, Polly moves the family to San Francisco where she keeps trying to fulfill the dream with her mother's blessing. Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923) was an American educator and author of children's stories, most notably the classic children's novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She started the first free kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878 (the Silver Street Free Kindergarten). With her sister during the 1880s, she also established a training school for kindergarten teachers. Kate Wiggin devoted her adult life to the welfare of children in an era when children were commonly thought of as cheap labor.