In a concluding note, Sanders explains that he ""lay[s] hold of history by imagining [his] way back into past lives."" Here, he has done just that--in a vignette of a pioneer family arriving in 1800 Ohio in the midst of a ""bone-rattling"" thunderstorm. The ""village"" of Aurora, where they have bought land, proves to be a wilderness with one surveyor's post; but, fortunately, people from the next--real--village are willing to assist with clearing windfalls so that they can get the oxen through. Sanders' spare, witty prose makes for fine storytelling here; for bet first picture book, Kastner uses watercolors in panoramic double spreads that successfully evoke the lowering storm, the filtered forest light, and the settlers at their tasks. Poignantly, the last line of the book reads, ""The next settlers did not come for three years."" Excellent beginning historical fiction.