THE SECOND ESCAPE OF ARTHUR COOPER by Cynthia M. Stowe

THE SECOND ESCAPE OF ARTHUR COOPER

Age Range: 9 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A group of Quakers on Nantucket Island help a runaway slave and his family escape the clutches of slave catchers. Set in 1822 and based on a true incident, Stowe tells the story of real-life Arthur Cooper’s second escape, his first being from a life of slavery on a plantation in Virginia. When the book opens, Arthur is living with his free-born wife and their children on the Island of Nantucket. The story revolves around the fictional character Phebe Folger, a Quaker girl who gets to know Arthur’s wife, Mary, when she comes to tend to her badly injured mother. Mary breathes life into a house filled with sorrow, helping Phebe’s mother, disheartened by her physical condition and the long, slow recovery period, heal, and Phebe becomes deeply attached to her. So when Phebe hears that there are slave catchers at the Coopers’ door, she disobeys her father and goes to their aid. What’s beautiful about the story is the way the entire Quaker community recognized a moral wrong and then banded together, taking definitive but nonviolent action to stop it. Although the novel’s message—“that all of us frightened people are sent to this Earth to help each other”—is lovely and empowering, sadly the story itself is rather slow and the morally upright characters, though good and true, are on the dreary side. It does capture the flavor of the period though, and should be a valuable window by which children can view a little known historical event. (Historical fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7614-5069-6
Page count: 108pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2000




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