In the middle of the night, The Crosswhitesaincluding young Sadieamust flee the Kentucky plantation they work on. Dear January has been beaten and killed by the plantation master, and they fear who may be next.Read more...
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In the middle of the night, The Crosswhitesaincluding young Sadieamust flee the Kentucky plantation they work on. Dear January has been beaten and killed by the plantation master, and they fear who may be next. But Sadie must leave behind her most valuable possession, the wooden sparrow carved for her by January. Through the Underground Railroad, the Crosswhites make the slow and arduous journey to Marshall, Michigan, where they finally live in freedom. And there they stay, happily, until the day a mysterious package shows up on their doorsteps. It is Januaryas sparrow, with a note that reads, aI found you.a
How the Crosswhites, and the whole town of Marshall, face this threat will leave readers empowered and enthralled. This is a Polacco adventure that will live in the minds of children for years.
- ISBN-13: 9780399250774
- ISBN-10: 0399250778
- Publisher: Philomel Books
- Publish Date: October 2009
- Page Count: 96
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 64.
- Review Date: 2009-09-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Based on actual events, Polacco’s (In Our Mothers’ House) story is at once horrifying and heartening. It centers on the Crosswhite family, slaves who flee their Kentucky plantation after witnessing the merciless whipping of January, a slave caught while attempting escape. Led to believe that January died from his wounds, Sadie Crosswhite is heartbroken when she inadvertently leaves behind the wooden sparrow he carved for her. Writing in credible dialect, Polacco conveys the family’s fear and fortitude as they follow the North Star, “trackin’ through cornfields, climbin’ up bluffs, rollin’ through muck and mud.” They take refuge in Marshall, Mich., a sanctuary on the Underground Railroad, where they remain until slave chasers track them down. After a confrontation in which the town rallies behind them, the Crosswhites steal away for Canada, accompanied by January, who has shown up unexpectedly. Like Polacco’s prose, her dynamic and sometimes brutal pictures, rendered in pencils and markers, hold nothing back—be it the Crosswhites’ anguish and terror while under pursuit or their affection for each other and those who harbor them. An illuminating and trenchant account. Ages 8–up. (Oct.)