Jack, Frances, and Frances’s younger brother Harold have been ripped from the world they knew in New York and sent to Kansas on an orphan train at the turn of the century. As the train chugs closer and closer to its destination, the children begin to hear terrible rumors about the lives that await them. And so they decide to change their fate the only way they know how. . . .
They jump off the train.
There, in the middle of the woods, they meet a boy who will transform their lives forever. His name is Alexander, and he tells them they've come to a place nobody knows about—especially not adults—and "where all children in need of freedom are accepted." It's a place called Wanderville, Alexander says, and now Jack, Frances, and Harold are its very first citizens.
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What People are Saying About This
“… A page-turner that will have readers eagerly waiting for the next installment. For those who want more background, the book includes a brief explanation of the Orphan Train Movement. Readers may wonder how children can survive on their own. Here, the strong characters make it plausible.” —Booklist “McClure celebrates bravery, ingenuity, and the bonds of family and friendship in this old-fashioned story of children fending for themselves, building a community, and eluding the adults who seek them… Readers should enjoy vicariously participating in the children’s independence and will appreciate their hard-earned triumphs.”—Publishers Weekly “Readers will be swept away by the bravery of the young heroes… Readers of series fiction who enjoy learning about the past will gravitate toward this accessible novel and will be impatient for the sequel.”—School Library Journal "A thoroughly enjoyable, fast-paced adventure." —Caroline Starr Rose, author of May B
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent first story in what promises to be a highly engaging series. It blends the historical facts of orphan trains with an exciting plot and likeable characters. Looking forward to the next one.
Jack wasn’t an orphan, but his parents put him on an orphan train after his older brother died in a factory fire. His parents couldn’t afford to have Jack live with them anymore. Jack makes friends on the train. His new friends, Frances and her little brother Harold, are just happy to not be separated from each other. The kids hear horrible rumors about the place they’re heading for, the Pratcherd Ranch. So, they hatch an idea. When the train stops, the kids jump off it! Soon after, they meet Alexander, a kid who had escaped from the Pratcherd Ranch. They become friends and they make a town where kids in need can find refuge. The children call it Wanderville. This was an outstanding, well-written book. Ms. McClure has instantly become a favorite author of mine with this book! The story was one I couldn’t put down. I really identified with the characters who were taken from New York and left in Kansas (we recently moved from just outside Philadelphia to a VERY rural area). Ms. McClure’s writing style really draws you into the story. It made it seem like I jumped off the train with Jack, Frances, and Harold. There is some very minor violence at the Pratcherd Ranch, but most of it happens between chapters and isn’t graphic. I love the history I learned about the orphan trains too. I first learned about them in Clare Vanderpool’s “Moon Over Manifest,” but learned more about them from this book. Jack sounds like a boy I’d love to be friends with. He’s pretty adventurous. I think kids will love this book! I can’t wait for Book 2! :D *NOTE* I got an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review