by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
Email this review


An African-American lad saves his family’s bacon in a tale set during the Great Oklahoma Land Run. Struggling to make ends meet and hearing of a chance for a fresh start out west, Moses’s father trades in his fish stall for a wagon, and packs up the extended family for the long journey from Baltimore to Oklahoma. Overcoming obstacles both natural and human, the hopeful clan arrives to join the huge crowd at the starting line—but in the mad scramble after the gun goes off, Moses’ father breaks his leg when the wagon plunges into an unseen stream bed. It’s up to Moses, then, to take one of the horses and a handkerchief marker and ride ahead to choose and stake a good claim. Ellison provides painterly, full-page illustrations of dark-skinned, grave-looking figures in period dress, captures the drama of the hard gallop at the climax and closes with an aerial view of the handkerchief waving atop a pole over a cluster of farm buildings. Actually, as the author points out in his foreword (where he also briefly alludes to the hardships suffered by Native-American groups in the Oklahoma Territory), there were five Land Runs between 1889 and 1895; here he presents a composite to highlight the fact that many African-Americans seized the chance to start new lives. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58536-316-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2007


ChildrenMISSILE TOE by Devin Scillian
by Devin Scillian
ChildrenMEMOIRS OF AN ELF by Devin Scillian
by Devin Scillian
ChildrenMEMOIRS OF A HAMSTER by Devin Scillian
by Devin Scillian