A follow-up to the well-loved A Yellow Watermelon (2007) and Secret of the Satilfa (2010); all three volumes follow Ted and Poudlum, a pair of fast friends who happen to be of different races as they negotiate their way through a segregated rural Alabama of the 1940s.
When Ted and Poudlum set out to enjoy a fishing trip down the river, they get a whole lot more than they bargained for. The two boys stumble upon a secret Ku Klux Klan meeting and learn the identities of several key members. When they are discovered, they take to the river to escape, only landing themselves in even more hot water, so to speak, when a surprise flood sweeps them into the arms of thugs who intend to sell them to a Chinese slaver. The boys survive one calamity after another, counting on their resourcefulness and on each other to get them through. This volume, like its predecessors, maintains a light, adventurous tone even as it deals with such difficult issues as segregation, hate crimes and slavery. Dunangan manages this feat not by making light of social ills, but by keeping the narrative tightly focused on Ted and Poudlum, who come off as forgivably naïve and immensely likable.
This one will appeal to those already fond of Ted and Poudlum and gain them some new fans, too. (Historical fiction. 10-14)