With a preachy tone, stiff dialogue, and thick characterizations that should have disappeared with Grandfather clauses, this lugubrious Underground Railroad story has its facts straight, its message perfectly clear. Julilly, separated from her Mammy Sally by a slave trader, clings to a goal of Canada and freedom. Alexander Ross, an abolitionist passing as an ornithologist, gets her away from her miserable Mississippi plantation along with equally determined friend Liza and two older boys. Their stops en route are instructive, the overall risks repeatedly enunciated, but the wooden exchanges accumulate without relief. One notable feature: Canada, once reached, is no Promised Land, just a better place. A much more ambitious approach than Monjo's resonant The Drinking Gourd (1970) but less forceful and much less evocative.