Clem Fontayne journeys across the Wild Western frontier in search of his father, who vanished after heading for the Californina gold fields.
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“Often a newspaper article or a historical event that relates to my own experience triggers my stories. Though time and distance may separate me from the event, I can transfer my own feelings—fears and longings— to the characters I am creating.
“I have escaped war. I have been an immigrant, an outsider, and lonely in a new land. I have been persecuted, the only Jew in the entire school. I have been the brightest student and also the dullest; I have been rejected and also praised for my accomplishments.
“All these feelings and challenges flow into my stories, whether picture books or novels for older readers. I draw characters from the individuals I have known—my mother, who was courageous and strong, my sisters, acquaintances and friends, some who were wonderful role models, others who betrayed me. I have written several mysteries, because I wonder what leads people into crime. Good fiction informs us about choices and helps us differentiate between what is valuable and what is destructive. Through drama we practice living. This is what I hope my fiction will provide for my readers, along with entertainment and pleasure.
Gr 6-8-When 14-year-old Clem's mother and baby sister die of fever, he is left with a run-down Missouri farm and a cow. He hasn't heard from his father since the man left for the California gold fields more than a year before. A neighboring family seems willing to take Clem in, but he soon finds that their interest is more in his labor and his cow than in his welfare so he sets out for the West to find his father. Although poor in material goods, Clem is rich in imagination and determination. He encounters many rough and ready characters: a cheating tavern owner, bullwhackers, and a pony express stationmaster. A hardworking widow offers some kindness and sweet Molly Warren, a romantic interest. When he is thrown from a horse, his survival hangs on the edge. Eventually he is rescued and nursed to health by a Mormon family, then continues on to California. On his journey, Clem grows from a daydreaming boy into a competent young man, and learns much about himself and his charming, intelligent, but irresponsible father. Although Levitin's episodic story occasionally loses momentum, this novel is rich in history and adventure. Fans of Gary Paulsen's Mr. Tucket (Delacorte, 1994) will find much to like here.
Kathryn Kosiorek, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Scholastic Inc., 1948. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0439440548
Descripción Scholastic Inc., 1948. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110439440548