Crosswire

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Overview

Texas 1833: A stifling drought threatens to destroy farms, and even families. Dwindling water supplies have driven desperate cattlemen to snip fences in order to water their herds—targeting thirteen-year-old Jesse's farm several times. When a lone drifter arrives in town, he's quickly hired to work the farm. It should be a relief to have the extra help, but Jesse suspects the man is more than just a hired hand and is determined to uncover his mysterious secret. This Society of School Librarians International...

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Overview

Texas 1833: A stifling drought threatens to destroy farms, and even families. Dwindling water supplies have driven desperate cattlemen to snip fences in order to water their herds—targeting thirteen-year-old Jesse's farm several times. When a lone drifter arrives in town, he's quickly hired to work the farm. It should be a relief to have the extra help, but Jesse suspects the man is more than just a hired hand and is determined to uncover his mysterious secret. This Society of School Librarians International Honor Book includes an author's note and bibliography.

Dotti Enderle is a native Texan, whose keen interest in the history of the Lone Star State grew from the olden-day stories she heard as a child. Now an author of numerous books for children and educators, including Man in the Moon and the award-winning picture book Grandpa for Sale, Dotti happily weaves the state's history into her books. She lives in Houston with her family and an old gray cat named Oliver.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
The barbed wire on the cover of this well-told historical novel is central to its plot. The drought of 1883 affects cattle across Texas, as water holes go dry. Free-range cattlemen start to cut fences, like those on 13-year-old Jesse's family farm, to allow their cattle access to water; free grazing has been a Texas tradition, and the fence-cutters make threats against those who try to stop them. Meanwhile, Jesse's father and his neighbors want to protect their fences, their property and their scarce water from these invaders, and they're willing to resort to guns to do it. But a tragic gun accident has left Jesse unwilling to use firearms, while his older brother, Ethan, spends his evenings drinking and gambling at the town saloon, incurring his father's wrath. When a mysterious stranger comes to town and Jesse's dad promptly hires him on as a farmhand, Jesse is suspicious enough to finally overcome his fear of guns, and he uncovers a surprising truth. A postscript provides background information on the fence cutters and the role of the Texas Rangers, an intriguing aspect of Texas history. This quick and absorbing read holds more than local interest, though, and should appeal to all fans of Westerns and historical fiction. A bibliography is included. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
Kirkus Reviews

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall," says the voice in Frost's "Mending Wall," which is certainly the sentiment of the free-range cattlemen in 1883, when drought made them desperate enough to cut farmers' barbed-wire fences to get at water for their herds. Farmers reacted, setting off the Fence-Cutting Wars in Texas. Thirteen-year-old Jesse and his family are farmers, and when his father hires a mysterious man named Jackson to help in mending fences and fighting back, Jesse's too afraid of guns to be counted a man in this conflict. It's his coming-of-age story that will involve readers, who will feel the mounting tension as Jesse must eventually decide what it means to be a man in a conflict with no easy answers. A solid, unassuming prose style perfectly matches the Texas setting to tell a tale about a little-known but fascinating part of American history. Enderle writes with restraint, her research neatly woven into the story, her characters carefully drawn. A small gem of a story. (afterword, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590787519
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dotti Enderle is a native Texan whose keen interest in the history of the lone Star State grew from the olden-day stories she heard as a child. Now an author of numerous books for children and educators, including the novel Man in the Moon and the award-winning picture book Grandpa for Sale, Dotti happily weaves the state's history into her work. She lives in Houston with her family and an old gray cat named Oliver.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great read.

    I really enjoyed "Crosswire". It's a fast read, perfect for the middle-grade reader, and full of tension and conflict. The main character learns a hard lesson, and ends up being an unlikely hero. Although it's fiction, this novel is based on historical events. Until I read this story, I didn't know that those cattle kings in 19th century Texas didn't own land. They simply gathered all the cattle they could and drove them wherever they wanted in search of water and grass. But as farmers fenced their land, the cattle barons could no longer do that. I highly recommend "Crosswire".

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