The Buffalo Knifeby William O. Steele
Nine-year-old Andy and his family brave natural and man-made dangers during a perilous thousand-mile raft trip down the Tennessee River.
Children's LiteratureIn this welcome reissue of William O. Steele's 1952 frontier adventure, nine-year-old Andy Clark is traveling with his family and the Brown family down the Tennessee River on a flatboat. Andy is thrilled to be venturing into the wilderness and wants to be a Long Hunter like his idolized Uncle Az. He is puzzled by Isaac, the son of the Brown family, who wants no part of the wilderness and wants to be a merchant and live in town. As the friendship between the boys develops, both begin to realize that the frontier needs settlers with different kinds of talents. Indian attacks with flaming arrows, a rattlesnake bite, and dangerous rapids make for a real page turner. The characters are well developed, and Steele's familiarity with the landscape is evident in his descriptions of woods and river. A useful introduction by Jean Fritz includes an explanation of Steele's use of such terms as "redskins" and "savages" as being reflective of the language of the time period and as such not offensive. A map of the flatboat's journey and a note with some historical background would have been helpful, but, overall, the book is a wonderful rip-roaring adventure. 2004 (orig. 1952), Odyssey/Harcourt Young Classic, Ages 8 to 12.
From the Publisher
"Mr. Steele writes so vividly that you feel that you have been right there on the flatboat during the whole trip and have come to know these pioneers as real people."--The New York Times Book Review
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