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Some men aren't meant for safe pastures.

Home cooking, a warm bed, family -- all these things Tyler's father, Black Jack Bohannon, gave up for an unknown destiny. Now, at fourteen, Tyler is following in his father's footsteps. He's leaving his comfortable home in Sweet Creek, Missouri, for the frontier of ...
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Some men aren't meant for safe pastures.

Home cooking, a warm bed, family -- all these things Tyler's father, Black Jack Bohannon, gave up for an unknown destiny. Now, at fourteen, Tyler is following in his father's footsteps. He's leaving his comfortable home in Sweet Creek, Missouri, for the frontier of the unsettled West.

Luckily he's not going alone. Isaac Peerce, Tyler's best friend and a newly freed slave, is going with him. Both boys are looking for adventure and new beginnings.

But the frontier is an unforgiving place, and one mistake lands the boys in a heap of trouble. And just when they need each other the most, their friendship is tested. They must find a way to work together, or Tyler and Isaac could become two more victims of the rugged American West.

In 1867, after his father's death and his mother's remarriage, fourteen-year-old Tyler and his black friend Isaac set out on the Missouri River headed west to seek their fortunes, encountering an unsavory keel boat captain and a Sioux chief along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The companion book to Calvert's Bigger and Sooner continues the post-Civil War adventures of Tyler Bohannon and his friend, Isaac Peerce, a freed slave. The fourteen-year-olds have decided to leave Missouri to seek their fortunes in the West, embarking from St. Joseph on a keelboat to Fort Benton. Unfortunately, the boat's captain is a scoundrel who trades them into captivity to a tribe of Sioux. Isaac is much admired among the Indians, while Tyler is treated as a slave. With their roles reversed, Tyler fumes and plots until he's convinced Isaac to escape with him. The conclusion to the trilogy finds the boys in Fort Benton at last. Tyler may have sorted through his father problems, but Isaac gets the short end of the stick¾and the timely reunion with Tyler's stepfather is improbable. 2002, Atheneum,
— Kathleen Karr
Fourteen-year-old Tyler and his friend, emancipated slave Isaac, are eager to leave Missouri in 1867 for adventures out West. When an avuncular captain offers them space on his keelboat, they board without question. Tyler becomes suspicious, however, when the captain requests their possessions for safekeeping. Isaac soon discovers that the ship carries whiskey and ammunition, both illegal cargoes for trading with the Indians. After a disastrous exchange with the Sioux, Tyler and Isaac are given to the tribe as a peace offering. Now the boys' worlds are turned upside down. Because of Isaac's dark skin color, he becomes a favored tribe member, whereas Tyler is considered a slave. Tyler receives another surprise when he discovers that tribal girl Many Horses is white. After her own family was killed, she was rescued and raised by the Sioux, whom she now considers family. Tyler's life is split among three worlds, and he gains a greater and more mature perspective of each as the story segues into a thoughtful study of whites, blacks, and Indians during this era. Although Many Horses will remain with the Sioux, she gets horses for the boys' escape. Their arduous return to Missouri unfortunately is covered quickly, with events glossed over in too-few pages. This action-packed page-turner, last in a trilogy with Bigger (Scribner, 1994/VOYA April 1994) and Sooner (Atheneum/S & S, 1998), will be difficult for middle-level boys and girls to put down. The preface of the book provides Civil War information, ending by noting the time line of the relocation of various Indian tribes to reservations before 1890. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YAappeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2002, Atheneum/S & S, 224p, Hazlett
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This is the third installment of Tyler Bohannon's exploits, following Bigger (1994) and Sooner (1998, both Atheneum). It is now 1867, and the teen, with the blessing of his mother and stepfather, sets off from St. Joseph, MO, hoping to find independence and success in the West. Accompanying him are his beloved dog and his closest friend, freedman Isaac Peerce. After initial difficulties, Tyler and Isaac find work on the keelboat Darlin' Nell, headed upriver into rough country on its way to Fort Benton in Montana Territory. When the crooked captain faces a crisis during a trading stop, he saves himself by selling the young adventurers to the Sioux. As captives, the boys must work hard and learn strange new ways quickly. Much to their surprise and Tyler's chagrin, Isaac is cherished and favored by the Indians because of his dark skin. Tyler bitterly ponders questions of race and justice, while Isaac must choose whether to join his friend in an escape attempt or remain in his new, privileged life within the tribe. Though somewhat melodramatic, the plot moves along swiftly, and engaging characters combine with convincing historical details to attract and retain reader interest.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Continuing the post-Civil War tale begun in Bigger (1994) and continued in Sooner (1998), Calvert takes young Tyler Bohannon, along with his ex-slave companion Isaac Peerce and dog Sooner, from Missouri to California. Already feeling wronged by his father, who had abandoned the family to fight in the war, and his mother, for remarrying, Tyler gets more bees in his bonnet when a keelboat captain treacherously trades him and Isaac to a group of Sioux. Then, adding insult to injury, Isaac gets far better treatment because his dark skin and woolly hair amaze their captors. Worst of all, when Tyler talks about escaping their enslavement, Isaac is reluctant to leave. Calvert hammers the irony of the role reversal into the ground, and fills Tyler so full of resentment that he comes across as little more than a walking sense of aggrievance. He's also a bully; not only does he eventually browbeat Isaac into slipping away with him, but, deeply shocked by a white orphan's disinterest in returning to white society, tries to drag her along too. In a quick, tidy resolution, the author brings Tyler and Isaac to Fort Benton, where they find the keelboat captain dying and Tyler's stepfather waiting with fresh supplies, then sends the two travelers on to California in an afterword. This is billed as the final volume of a trilogy, but except for Tyler showing some signs of letting his resentment go, there's little sense of closure. Weak. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439132609
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Patricia Calvert has written many novels, including the prequels to this book, Bigger and Sooner, as well as Glennis, Before and After, winner of the Christopher Award, and Michael, Wait for Me. She lives in Minnesota.
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