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An efficiently worked-out object lesson, communicated in Colonial-ese. It's 1768, and 12-year-old orphan Peter York has been taken in--he's not quite sure why--by Quaker farmer Everett Shinn: "Of grave demeanor, never given to easy smiles, he spoke, when he did speak, with great care." And farmer Shinn's taciturnity continues to stand between him and Peter when they become involved in trying to apprehend two escaped bondsmen. First, Peter can't understand Shinn's reluctance to go after the sizable reward, his insistence on doing no more than his duty as Justice of the Peace; then, after Peter himself warms to their plight--one is a young girl whom he hastily, horrifyingly shoots, the other a still younger boy--Shinn seems to him callous for being willing to turn the two in. But when he takes matters in his own hands and helps them escape, he finds in Shinn an accomplice--distressed at keeping mum before--and a fond fellow-being. There is a central action sequence but even when Peter and the girl are in mortal danger the book has no grip: it moves along on a conceptual level with prototypical characters and not a single stray feeling or purposeless thought. Worthy, then, but vacuum-packed.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
ISBN: 0380732424
Page count: 164pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1979


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