"A rewarding tale that highlights a lesser-known aspect of American's pioneer story." School Library Journal
"A must for young history buffs." Kirkus Reviews
"Short chapters, simple sentences, and James' pencil sketches make this an appealing choice for newly independent readers." Booklist
Gr 3-4-The second in the series, this book begins as the Webster children investigate their grandmother's attic. A memento there leads to the story of their ancestor, Everett Turner. Following the Civil War, he was the first of his family to be born into freedom, and the first to be educated. As his story begins, Everett has stowed away on a riverboat headed to St. Louis. He's seen a pamphlet about free land in the West that has him dreaming of his own place. Fortunately, Everett falls in with good people in St. Louis. He learns to work with horses and joins a group of former slaves headed for Nicodemus, KS. The story ends as the group begins the trip to Kansas City. The cover art with a boy on a bucking horse will draw many readers. They'll find a rewarding tale that highlights a lesser-known aspect of America's pioneer story. McKissack deftly weaves in details of the time, including Buffalo soldiers, the role of the church, and the rise of the Klan. This book is just right for beginning chapter book readers who enjoyed Barbara Brenner's Wagon Wheels (HarperCollins, 1978) and are ready for more.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
It's 1879 and 13-year-old Everett Turner is stowing away on a supply boat to St. Louis. He has left his farmer brother Gus to work their exhausted land in Tennessee and is heading west to the new settlements in Kansas, hoping to find his way out of the fields of Pearl, Tenn. and into the cavalry with his older brother. Holding his dead father's Medal of Valor as a talisman, Everett joins the wave of pioneers with little more than the clothes he's wearing. Using his wits and his ability to read, Everett earns a spot with Benjamin Singleton's group and starts his new life in Kansas. Important and sometimes neglected historical details are here: Buffalo soldiers, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the slave-built Eads Bridge and the settlement of Nicodemus, Kan. In short, readable chapters, complete with cliffhanger endings, McKissack brings another slice of history to life for new readers. A must for young history buffs. (timeline) (Fiction. 8-12)