School Library JournalGr 1-3-Ellen and William Craft were slaves determined to escape to freedom. Their daring plan involved Ellen traveling as a white male slave master with William as her slave. Risking everything, they embarked on their journey from Georgia on December 21, 1848. The difficult trip ended with the couple arriving safely in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. This account of a real event employs a suspenseful text that will keep readers engaged to the very end. A note explains that the dialogue was "taken or adapted from conversations reported by William Craft" in his 1860 narrative. Soft watercolor paintings illustrate almost every page and there are reproductions of a period drawing and photograph of Ellen Craft. An afterword explains what happened to the couple after their escape and mentions William Craft's book on the subject. A great nonfiction choice for newly independent readers.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsIn clear, straightforward prose, Moore tells the amazing story of William and Ellen Craft and their escape from slavery. This tale is a familiar one to those who study African-American history and the many fascinating stories of slave resistance. But many children will be hearing it for the first time. Ellen and William longed for freedom. Ellen wishes to start a family with William but cannot bear the thought of having a child sold away the way she was taken from her own mother. The two of them come up with a daring plan for escape: light-skinned Ellen will pretend to be a slaveowner and William will be her slave. Together they travel the miles to Philadelphia and eventually to their freedom. New readers will appreciate the fast-paced adventure, simple language, large typeface with plenty of space for detailed illustrations, and a relatively obscure story set in a familiar historical time. Though this series is written for new readers, Moore manages to include some difficult and important angles to the adventure. She allows the young reader to see clearly the differences between the way William has to live as he travels as a slave and how Ellen, posing as a white man, lives. At the climax of the story, Ellen and William are nearly stopped by a railroad officer who demands that Ellen show proof of ownership. Ellen "did something a slave could never do. She stood up for her rights." Young readers will be inspired by this tale of personal courage in the face of prejudice. The author's afterword, timeline, and bibliography add historical insight. (Biography. 6-10)
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