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Children's LiteratureThis is indeed, as the jacket suggests, a "tale of spirit, compassion and the courage to do what is right when it would be safer to do nothing." It is a story of the Underground Railroad through Michigan and Canada, a less well-known branch of the road to freedom even though the author tells us that 40,000 slaves traveled this route. Young Louis has been left in charge of the farm while his father goes to a logging camp for the winter. His father told Louis "If you don't know what to do, do what you think I would have done." To Louis, that included rowing a slave mother and her two children on a frigid and dangerous trip across the Detroit River. The illustrations are riveting—young Lucy's eyes filled with fear and pleading as they gaze directly at the reader, the glow of the patrol boat lantern that could have ended the run to freedom for everyone. Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen paints in dark oils that leave the texture of the canvas showing through and help convey the many layers of meaning: the choices Louis must make, the tentative companionship between Louis and the young black boy who trusts no whites, and the decisions grown ups make to seek freedom and help freedom seekers. This is a fresh and elegant perspective on the Underground Railroad that can be appreciated on many levels by a wide age range. 2004, Sleeping Bear Press, Ages 7 to 12.