A brave girl with a powerful gift travels through the Alaskan wilderness in search of her missing father and uncle in Bumppo’s first book.
Everlasting seems to have an idyllic life on the shores of the Yukon River in the mid-1800s. She has a loving family, a peaceful tribe and even friendly dog-sled puppies to play with. Then the river floods her village, destroying the residents’ homes and washing away all their food and material possessions. Everyone survives, but Everlasting’s father and uncle are missing—carried away in their canoes while fishing. The resourceful villagers start rebuilding right away. While gathering seeds and berries, Everlasting finds a special walking stick that allows her to understand and speak to animals. Armed with the stick, she sets out to find her missing relatives. Along the way, she meets many animals, including a graceful raven, a mighty king salmon and a family of wolves. Each plays a part in helping Everlasting on her journey, and she always returns the favor. Later, Everlasting meets a pair of warring tribes, but her walking stick inspires her to take on every challenge peacefully and with wisdom. A longtime resident of Alaska, Bumppo has packed his adventure story for children with authentic details about a community and a way of life that will be new to many young readers: North American aboriginal people not yet besieged by white settlers. This tale offers many lessons about courage, compromise, resilience and faith—but they’re not trite. In fact, Everlasting’s respectful encounters with the animals along the shore resemble Mowgli’s in The Jungle Book—the human and animal worlds blend into one cooperative kingdom. The author writes with finesse, describing plot, action, nature and Déné traditions in a straightforward, absorbing way. Clean black-and-white sketches open each of the six chapters. In the end, Everlasting must make a weighty decision, one that leaves open the possibility of more stories from the new author.
A wholesome historical adventure story for preteens brings a culture to life while dealing with universal truths.