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VOYASet in the upper Missouri valley during the smallpox epidemic of 1837, this fast-paced adventure takes readers into the mind and heart of pre-adolescent Rosalie, aka "Last Child," who splits her life between her mothers' Mandan village and her white father's Fort Clark. As the novel opens, bookkeeper McCullough, outraged at the arrival of a boatload of sick whites lying among soiled Indian blankets, orders the blankets burned and the sailors quarantined. But his orders are ignored. As disease spreads, McCullough, taking two men and daughter Rosalie as clerk, leaves the fort to rescue a trader and his load of buffalo robes lost upriver. There they are ambushed and Rosalie kidnapped. Against all odds, Rosalie escapes, survives a forest fire, builds a buffalo-hide boat, saves the trader, and returns to a devastated village. Now almost literally "Last Child," she spends precious weeks with her failing Mandan grandmother who teaches Rosalie to accept herself and to straddle two cultures. The novel ends with an 1845 epilogue as Rosalie, after years away in her father's care, returns home to chronicle the tragedy. Action-packed prose; sharp, witty dialogue; and strong characterization make this novel an entertaining read. Spooner, himself related to Native Americans, does his best to accurately portray the time and the people. This book is wonderfully suited to examining issues of cultural conflict and mixed-race youth. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Henry Holt, 256p., Ages 11 to 18.