One Sky Above Us

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Overview

Meet the legend Buffalo Bill Cody as a boy.

After traveling out west and settling in the Kansas Territory, Bill and his family encounter serious danger. The border ruffians are determined to get the Codys out of Kansas, and Bill knows what he must do — grow up fast and act like the man he always dreamed he could be.


About the Author:

E. Cody Kimmel is a descendant of ...

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Overview

Meet the legend Buffalo Bill Cody as a boy.

After traveling out west and settling in the Kansas Territory, Bill and his family encounter serious danger. The border ruffians are determined to get the Codys out of Kansas, and Bill knows what he must do — grow up fast and act like the man he always dreamed he could be.


About the Author:

E. Cody Kimmel is a descendant of Buffalo Bill Cody as well as the highly praised author of another adventure tale: Ice Story, about Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated trip to the Antarctic. Her two previous novels are In the Stone Circle and Visiting Miss Caples, both of which garnered excellent reviews.   Kimmel is currently writing a series of novels about the life and adventures of young Buffalo Bill Cody. Ms. Kimmel lives in Cold Spring, NY with her husband and daughter.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in the mid 1800s, these two launch titles in the Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill series "will hold the interest of fans of the frontier and convert newcomers to its lore and history... as young Bill becomes the man of American legend," according to PW. Ages 8-12. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060291204
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/15/2002
  • Series: Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.76 (d)

First Chapter

One Sky Above Us

Chapter One

Planting Seeds

How the world had changed in just a few short months! Bill Cody ran a brush over Prince's back, and as he groomed his horse, he thought about what life had been like six months ago. The Codys had lived in Iowa then, and Bill's big brother, Sammy, had still been alive. Bill had never even heard of Kansas Territory. He had been happy with the way things were, playing with his friend Joe Barnes on the banks of the Mississippi River and planning his life as a steamboat pilot. Then Sammy was killed in a riding accident, and before Bill knew it, Pa had packed the family up and set out to start a new life in Kansas Territory. Now Iowa seemed more like a story of someone else's life that Bill had heard time and again. It hardly seemed real. He was a Kansas boy now.

Bill never imagined there could be so much work for a body to do every single day. Each morning all the water the family would need had to be hauled in buckets from a nearby spring. What with cooking, washing, and cleaning, Bill quickly learned exactly how much water a family of eight actually needed. How he missed the well they'd had just outside their house in Iowa! Bill was also in charge of collecting wood for the fire. When he was done with that, he needed to feed and tend the horses and oxen, and the several hens Pa had bought for egg laying. Oftentimes he was sent off to lay traps so his family would have meat for supper.

Then there was all the building that still needed doing. Bill spent hours chopping and hauling wood from the creek for the split-rail fences. He marked more trees and helped Pa cut them down to provide lumber for their new barn. He cut shingles with Pa's adze for the outhouse. Bill felt like he could never finish one chore without already being late to start another.

Today they needed to plow and harrow the cleared fields. It was almost July, and if they didn't plant the corn soon, they might miss their chance for a late-summer crop. It seemed everything had to be done right away, and it all took so much longer than Bill thought it ought to. When Pa had first told the family they would be moving to Kansas Territory, Bill had liked the idea of exploring and taming land that no settler before him had called home. It sounded like something his hero, Kit Carson, might have done. Bill had imagined it would be as dangerous and exciting an experience as any aspiring frontiersman might wish for. But the only things Bill had gotten out of it so far were sore muscles and a backache.

"Are you feeling neglected, Prince?" Bill murmured as he stroked his horse's neck. The animal's sleek brown coat looked like velvet in the early-morning sunlight. Prince gave a satisfied nicker and nudged Bill with his nose.

"I ain't forgot about those rides I promised we'd take. We'll get ourselves over to Fort Leavenworth yet, you'll see. But it ain't gonna be today, that's for certain. Right now the only thing I'm gonna be explorin' is the cornfield. I reckon I got a few more minutes for you, though. Get your coat nice and smooth with this brush. Feels good, don't it?"

Prince shifted his weight as Bill began brushing him more energetically, massaging the horse's rippling muscles with each stroke.

"You coming, son?" Bill heard Pa call.

Bill gave an exasperated sigh. Could a boy not have even five minutes to see to his own horse?

"Yes, Pa," Bill called back, doing his best to keep the irritation out of his voice. He put his face near Prince's and spoke to the horse in quiet, soothing tones.

"I'm sorry, Prince. Looks like your brushing is gonna have to wait. I know it ain't fair, but what can I do?"

He gave Prince a final pat and left his horse standing in the grassy pasture, hemmed in by the split-rail fence Bill and Pa had only just finished making the day before.

"I'll be back soon as I got a spare minute, I promise," Bill called. Prince gave a little whinny, which Bill took to be a sound of regret.

Bill jumped over the fence and started down the hill. He glanced back over his shoulder at the little barn, which was scarcely more than a few logs and a frame roof. It really had to be made more secure as soon as possible, Bill thought, to keep the wolves out, and the wind and rain off Prince's back. If only there were more time. Maybe if he stopped sleeping altogether, he might find enough hours in each day.

Bill couldn't help but feel sorry for himself as he trudged over to the field where Pa was waiting. It was barely past seven in the morning, but the sun already burned in the wide, cloudless sky. A slight breeze blew in from the west, but as Bill walked along, he could feel the sweat beading on his forehead. It was going to be a long, hot day, Bill thought, and all he had to look forward to was walking up and down the field as it was plowed and harrowed, with a thirty-pound bag of seed slung over his shoulder. Had Kit Carson ever endured such chores?

Bill joined Pa where he was standing on the border of the field, an eighth of a mile or so from their cabin.

"'Sa hot one all right," Pa said, removing his hat and fanning his face with it. "No lack of sunshine in Kansas Territory. Couple of good rains and we'll have ourselves a grand crop, Bill."

One Sky Above Us. Copyright © by E. Kimmel. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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