WAGON WHEELS by Barbara Brenner


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Based on the true story of black homesteaders in Kansas, this has Ed Muldie and his three sons (their mother has died on the way from Kentucky) settling in the dugout community of Nicodemus, where they almost starve in the winter until a group of Osage Indians rides through dropping food parcels. In spring Daddy goes on to find better land, leaving the narrator, eleven, and Willie, eight, to take care of three-year-old Little Brother. And so they do, hurrying him along when a brush fire has the whole town fleeing to the river, until Daddy sends word and a map and the boys travel 150 miles on foot to join him in their new home. ""We knew we could do it. Our Daddy had told us so."" A good choice for the I-CAN-READ format, the Muldies' story gives beginning readers a glimpse of homesteaders' life and, specifically, an awareness of the black groups in Kansas--and the boys' impressive feats of coping make for more genuine human interest than the donkey provided in Gray's recent How Far Felipe (p. 242, J-54), in the same series. Don Bolognese's drawings are serviceable, except that Little Brother looks much too old, as six-year-olds will notice.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row