Best Friendsby Loretta Krupinski
When a settler's young daughter learns that soldiers will force the Nez Perce off the nearby land, she uses a doll to warn her Indian friend of the impending danger.
Children's Literature - Meredith KigerThis story of two young girls, one a white settler and the other a Native American, reads as if it were true but, as the author explains at the end of the story, it is really invented. Charlotte's family has recently moved to the Idaho prairie. Her favorite aunt gives her a doll before she leaves Kansas and she becomes attached to it in an attempt to allay her homesickness. One day, while playing near a creek, she meets a young Native American girl whom she calls Lily. They become fast friends. Charlotte even teaches Lily to read some English. One day, Charlotte overhears grownups talking about plans by soldiers to run the Indians off their land. In an attempt to secretly warn Lily and her tribe, she attaches a note to her doll and gives it to the country doctor to deliver to Lily. Charlotte does not learn that her plan has worked until "many moons' have passed, and the doll is returned to her in an unexpected manner. The story is accompanied by romantic illustrations of the old west and by actual photos of prairie life and two little girls, which lends to its seeming authenticity.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-3--Set in Idaho in the 1870s, this story limns the friendship between a settler's daughter and a Nez Perce girl and of the circumstances that allow Charlotte to warn Lily that soldiers are planning to round up her people. First Charlotte teaches Lily to read and write, and then she sends her a message hidden in the head of the doll with which the girls often played. There is no character development to speak of, and Charlotte's voice as she looks back on the events seems detached, both from the action and from the people she describes. The most interesting feature here is the archival photography that is scattered in spot illustrations throughout, but even the impact of these pictures is vitiated by the unconvincing, expressionless figures in Krupinski's gouache paintings, which are given more prominence.--Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY
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