Gr 4-6-- Jo and Andrew Whitman are moving temporarily to west Texas to live with their uncle, Judge Macklin, until their aunt can come up from Galveston to take over both their deceased grandmother's house in east Texas and their care. En route to Muddy Wells, the stagecoach in which they are travelling is robbed by masked bandits, and the pair unexpectedly find themselves involved in the frontier justice system. Jo's artistic talent puts their lives in jeopardy when the bandits discover that she can draw pictures of them and their horses for the wanted posters. But when one of the bandits makes a purchase at the general store where she is working, Jo realizes that he is too young and gentle to really be a criminal. She tries to help him and to convince her uncle not to prosecute him with the rest of the villains. Some readers may feel that the pace moseys a bit, but it is refreshing to find a strong-minded, independent female protagonist in a genre usually overwhelmed by bonnets and gingham. Roberts has spiced up a light Western with just the right touch of mystery. --Jeanette Larson, Texas State Library, : Austin
Willo Davis Roberts wrote many mystery and suspense novels for children during her long and illustrious career, including The Girl with the Silver Eyes, The View from the Cherry Tree, Twisted Summer, Megan’s Island, Baby-Sitting Is a Dangerous Job, Hostage, Scared Stiff, The Kidnappers, and Caught!. Three of her children’s books won Edgar Awards, while others received great reviews and other accolades, including the Sunshine State Young Reader's Award, the California Young Reader’s Medal, and the Georgia Children’s Book Award.