The Legend of Freedom Hillby Linda Jacobs Altman, Ying-Hwa Hu
A fictional story set during the California Gold Rush, in which a girl teams up with her best friend in search of gold to buy her mother's freedom from a slave catcher.
Children's LiteratureIn California in the 1850s, two girls become friends. Both are outsiders¾Sophie because she is Jewish and Rosabel because she is black. Although slavery is illegal in California, catching runaway slaves is not. Rosabel's mother is captured, to then be returned to her owner. The brave girls search and find enough gold to bargain with the slave-catcher for the slaves he has caught. The story is told in a folksy tone, with a heartwarming look at the girls' relationship and the help Sophie's family offers to Rosabel. Double page scenes depict the key events with a sympathetic naturalism, presenting the necessary details of time and place, as if seen through a historic filter. The girls come alive, and are visualized as curious, affectionate and overtly brave in this slice of history. 2000, Lee & Low Books Inc.,
School Library JournalGr 1-4-Altman uses a folksy, third-person voice to describe a fictional episode set in California during the Gold Rush. The story concerns the friendship between outsiders Rosabel, an African American, and Sophie, a Jewish girl. The tale turns on the fact that Rosabel has her "freedom papers," but her mother does not. When the woman is captured under the Fugitive Slave Act, the girls hatch a plan to free her. Conveniently, they find gold in a nearby cave that is worth enough to buy freedom for Rosabel's mother and the five other prisoners on the slave wagon. The ending stretches credibility a bit, but the book is competently painted and has curricular possibilities for a topic not typically treated in picture books. The watercolors are rendered in a muted palette; the main characters appear in sharper focus and slightly brighter colors. Consider where period picture books are popular.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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