When ten-year-old Manda investigates the strange noises she hears in the night, she’s amazed to see people climbing out of grain sacks—a family of runaway slaves. Suddenly her parents who’ve never approved of lying or her play-acting need her help to head off the county constable.
Manda’s astonished at the idea that Hannah was owned by her Master’s daughter and that she was “whupped” for trying to read a book. When Hannah makes Manda a corn husk doll, Manda decides to give Hannah a present too—a reading lesson. But when Manda and Hannah decide to disobey and play outside, their disobedience puts both families in danger.
The story starts out quickly on the first page. Brief descriptions interrupt the action, but the story generally moves along quickly as the new friends meet, spend one day together and then must part.
At times, Manda’s family seems to have twenty-first century attitudes about the runaways, insisting that they are equals, for example. However, I think a tween will experience nothing jarring and will enjoy this brief introduction to the Underground Railroad and the importance of literacy.
Reading Level: 6.1, range 3.9-7.5.
Of interest to girls.
This review has been acquired and adapted from CleanTeenReads.com.
This review was acquired from CleanTeenReads.com on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist. Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here. The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.
Violence – Mostly threatened rather than actual; runaway girl mentions a “whupping” for trying to read a book; the runaways are hunted by the county constable and by a slave catcher with dogs.
Mature Subject Matter:
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Three times runaways’ baby given special drops to make her sleep, so she doesn’t cry and reveal where they are.