JOURNEY TO FREEDOM: A Story of the Underground Railroad by Courtni C. Wright

JOURNEY TO FREEDOM: A Story of the Underground Railroad

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This well-meaning but flat tale follows a family's escape from slavery via the Underground Railroad, escorted by none other than Harriet Tubman. Wright (Jumping the Broom, p. 152) generally assumes that readers will know more of the historical background than they are likely to. The book joins the group in mid-flight, as wild dogs snap at their heels; they go on to a safe house; eight-year-old Joshua sees his first snow (and his 10-year-old brother gets frostbitten feet, since the boys wear no shoes); and finally they cross Lake Erie by boat and reach safety in Canada. Unfortunately, the book's reverence for Tubman and automatic sympathy for the escaping slaves make it less inspiring than it should be. (It doesn't help that the drawings make the people seem stiff, either, and that Joshua's father looks uncannily like the illustrator himself.) And why is the narrative voice -- ostensibly that of an eight-year-old former slave -- in lyrical, perfect English while Tubman speaks in dialect? A worthy but muddled attempt.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1994
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House