Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Eliza Yates and her mother lived a peaceful and loving existence with relatives for many years until her mother died. The relatives then began to treat Eliza as a servant, her mean cousins making her the scapegoat for their misdeeds. Finally fed up, Eliza stole away in the middle of the night, planting evidence that she had come to a tragic end so that no one would search for her, thus giving her time to find her father who was last reported to be living in Tinville. Readers will enjoy Eliza Yates's transformation into Eli Bates and the subsequent adventures across America's old west with the Gentleman Outlaw Calvin Featherbone. Eventually their schemes land them in trouble with the law, and reunite them with Eli, Eliza's dad. 1997 (orig.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Treated like a "cinderella" by her stingy relatives, Eliza Yates runs away to find her fortune-seeking father in Colorado. To protect herself from the leering men of the West, she dresses as a boy and becomes Elijah Bates, Eli for short. She wanted freedom and adventure, and she get more than she bargained for. The "outlaw" is Calvin Featherstone, 18, who is more bluster than substance. The two join forces and are soon wanted by the sheriff for horse stealing and cheating at cards. It's up to "Eli" to save them both. There's enough hi-jinx, danger, and hilarity to keep all readers satisfied. 1997 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Eliza Yates is 12 years old in 1887 when she runs away from her cruel aunt and uncle and sets off for Tinville, Colorado, in search of her missing father. After being accosted by a tramp, she disguises herself as a boy, and it is "Elijah Bates" who meets up with Calvin Featherbone, an 18-year-old who calls himself the "Gentleman Outlaw." He is also headed for Tinville, in search of that town's Sheriff Yates, a man he believes shot his father in the back. The two join forces, though it is soon obvious both to Eliza and readers that Calvin is a greenhorn who will do nothing but get them into scrapes with his fool ideas. Hahn has obviously done her research, and succeeds in bringing the ambiance of the Old West to her novel. The result is a fast, funny, and entertaining adventure that's just the thing for fans of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman."-Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline Public Library, MA
Colorful characterizations and high-spirited language carry this ripsnorting western. After the death of her mother, Eliza, 12, runs away from her cruel and unscrupulous Kansas relatives. She sets out with her faithful dog, Caesar, to find her father in the silver mines of Colorado; early on, in a stolen pair of overalls, she transforms herself into "Eli." Soon after she meets Calvin Featherbone, known as the Gentleman Outlaw, who has been shot and left for dead by a pack of scoundrels. A healed Calvinwho talks "like he swallowed a dictionary"sets off with Eli for Tinville, Colorado, to shoot his sworn enemy, Sheriff Alfred Yates. The sheriff happens to be Eliza's father.
Hahn (Look For Me By Moonlight, 1995, etc.) has written an amusing comedy of errors that derives much of its humor from Calvin's speech and manners and Eliza's wry asides alluding to her true identity as a girl. With plenty of twists and turnsand a cameo appearance by Doc Hollidayit's a real cowgirl triumph.
From the Publisher
"With plenty of twists and turns -- and a cameo appearance by Doc Holliday--it's a real cowgirl, triumph." Kirkus Reviews
Read an Excerpt
I got the idea to run away the night Uncle Homer beat me for spilling a glass of milk. I hadn't done it on purpose, and I was genuinely sorry because I was hungry and knew full well I wouldn't get a second glass. But he took his belt to me any way, and no one said a word in my defense.
Fair didn't enter into it. My cousins spilled milk like it was water going over Niagara Falls and never got a whipping, but I wasn't on an equal level with Millicent, William, and Little Homer. I was a charity case, pure and simple.
Of course, there's some history behind all this. About seven years ago, when I was five, my father got fed up with farming and decided to head west. Nothing Mama said could change his mind. No matter how she begged and pleaded, Papa was bound and determined to try his luck at prospecting. Others were getting rich. Why not him too?
While Papa sought his fortune in Colorado, Mama and I stayed in Kansas with her sister's family. Aunt Mabel and Uncle Homer treated us all right at first. Like Mama and me, they expected Papa to get rich. No doubt they imagined he'd reward them for taking good care of his wife and daughter.
Then a terrible thing happened. After we'd been at Aunt Mabel's house for a couple of years, Mama took sick and died which is all I can say without crying because I still have a big empty place in my heart where she used to be.
Not long after that, my life took an even worse turn. Papa's letters stopped coming. My kindly kin told me he didn't want me anymore. Which wasn't any wonder, they said, as I was nothing to brag about.
Without Mama to protect me, I soon found my self living the life of a slave, fetching and carrying and doing allthe chores whilst my cousins mocked and teased me. The night I spilled the milk, I decided I'd had more than enough of Uncle Homer's belt and Aunt Mabel's spiteful tongue. The next time my uncle took a notion to whip me, I'd head west. Papa's last letter had come from Tinville, Colorado. I hoped I'd find him there.
Copyright ) 1996 by Mary Downing Hahn