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The Adventures of Midnight Son
     

The Adventures of Midnight Son

by Denise Lewis Patrick
 

"There ain't no words right enough to explain feelin' free."

On a dark Texas night in 1863 Midnight Son escapes from the plantation where he has lived all his life. In constant fear of bounty hunters, he hides in trees during the day and travels by night until he makes it across the border into Mexico.

Free from slavery, Midnight finds work as a ranch hand and

Overview

"There ain't no words right enough to explain feelin' free."

On a dark Texas night in 1863 Midnight Son escapes from the plantation where he has lived all his life. In constant fear of bounty hunters, he hides in trees during the day and travels by night until he makes it across the border into Mexico.

Free from slavery, Midnight finds work as a ranch hand and soon learns the ropes of a cowpoke. But as exciting as the job is, Midnight must face life-threatening situations everyday--like leading a team through a twister--in order to protect his herd.

Denise Lewis Patrick explores the physical and emotional experiences of a young cowboy who is coming to grips with his past, learning to accept the racial tensions around him, and ultimately embracing the goodness he has found in others.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In a voice strong and true, Patrick's narrator easily carries the story, winning readers' hearts in an unusual combination of rip-roaring action scenes interspersed with internal monologues of self-discovery. This is a seriouis character study, work of historical fiction, and action-adventure rolled into one.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Midnight is a compelling character as he wrestles with his feelings of anger and loss, and the story is rich in sensory details and historical facts on the challenging and eventful life of a young wrangler on a cattle drive.” —Booklist

“An excellent choice for the reluctantly literary.” —School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Leslie Julian
After his baby brother dies from starvation and his sister is sold away from the family, Midnight's parents take advantage of the start of the Civil War and make the brave sacrifice to plan their only son's escape from the horrid plantation. Midnight's own bravery, love for his family, and the kindness of a Mexican family guide him to freedom and a cowboy's life. He says, "I'm not looking for easy... I'm looking for a chance to tell my own feet where to go." This motto and his determination alongside him, Midnight promises himself that his baby sisters will one day taste freedom, too.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8--Despite a few flaws, notably a climactic scene featuring both a stampede and a tornado, this title is an example of convincing and compelling historical fiction. Midnight is the 13-year-old son of Texas slaves, suddenly free when his father engineers his escape during the confusion surrounding Texas's entry into the Civil War. The boy makes it to Mexico, where slavery is illegal, and where he is welcomed at a remote hacienda. There he learns the basics of the cowboy trade. When Slim, an older black man, leaves to join a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas, Midnight joins him. On the journey, he proves himself as a wrangler and trustworthy employee and also learns that not all men judge one another by their skin color. Patrick creates an interesting and unusual novel, told in a mostly winning colloquial voice. In addition to being a first-rate story, the book features well-rounded characters--black, white, and brown--and should also be useful for studies of African-American history, the Civil War, and Texas and frontier history. Leaner and a bit easier to read than the fine historical novels by G. Clifton Wisler and John Loveday's Goodbye, Buffalo Sky (McElderry, 1997), Midnight Son is also an excellent choice for the reluctantly literary.--Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Patrick (The Car Washing Street, 1993, etc.) delivers an unusual cowboy adventure tale, told through the eyes of a runaway slave, Midnight Son, 13.

Leaving Texas behind on a stolen horse, Midnight makes for the Mexican border by the light of the moon. In an early, outstanding scene, Midnight is caught and crated up by the plantation owner's son, with only the surreptitious, timely nods of a fellow slave to aid in his daring re-escape. Midnight begins his first hours of freedom just over the border, where he experiences friendships with Mexican vaqueros and a startling handshake with a white man. Juan Diego's attempt to dissuade him from the harsh life of a cowboy meets the response, "I'm looking for the chance to tell my own feet where to go." When he joins Slim on a cattle drive to Kansas, Midnight risks the threat of bounty hunters and faces his own swelling anger and bad memories as he goes head to head with a menacing cougar. In a voice strong and true, Patrick's narrator easily carries the story, winning readers' hearts in an unusual combination of rip-roaring action scenes interspersed with internal monologues of self-discovery. This is a serious character study, work of historical fiction, and action-adventure rolled into one.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805047141
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
10/15/1997
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.68(d)
Lexile:
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Denise Lewis Patrick has written more than twenty books for children. Before writing full-time, she worked in publishing as a staff writer and editor. Denise has been telling stories since she was eight years old. She remembers, as a child, binding her hand-written manuscripts with a needle and thread to create her very own books.

Ms. Patrick lives on Staten Island with her husband and their four sons. This is her first book for middle-grade readers.

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