From the Inside Flap
The cannon explodes at high noon and the horses spring forward. In the midst of the noise and excitement, nine-year-old Jesse holds the reins of his father's team. So much could go wrong: the horses may spook, the competitors may get rough, and he may not be able to claim the land they need, but Jesse is the only chance his family has. Two million acres of "unassigned lands" in Oklahoma went up for grabs on April 22, 1889. Jesse's family is just one of thousands who hope to start a life out west, but Pa's dreams of pounding a stake into the ground and making a new home are all but shattered when he gets injured and is unable to drive the family's wagon. All would be lost . . . if it weren't for Jesse. With Pa sitting beside his son, guiding him, there is no doubt that the two have already accomplished something important. Above the sound of the pounding hooves is Pa's voice: "Hold her steady and keep her straight. You'll be all right." Come what may, they will face it together as they search for a future on the Oklahoma prairie. (Back Flap) Una Belle Townsend is the award-winning author of the Pelican titles Racecar Driver's Night Before Christmas and Grady's in the Silo, winner of the 2004 Oklahoma Book Award and a 2004 IRA/CBC Children's Choice selection. Townsend has won a variety of writing and teaching awards, among them the Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom teacher of the year and Oklahoma Celebration of Reading best teacher's essay. She has three times been named Teacher of the Year at Riverside Elementary in El Reno, Oklahoma, where she works as the library media specialist/Title I reading teacher. Emile Henriquez is a graduate of John McCrady Art School, the premier New Orleans art academy in its heyday. He was a faculty member at the New Orleans Art Institute, and teaches varied art courses at New Orleans Metropolitan College, Delgado Community College, and two elementary schools in the parochial school system in New Orleans. He also teaches specialized courses in Slidell, Louisiana, where he resides. Henriquez's other Pelican titles include The Battle of New Orleans: The Drummer's Story and the popular D.J. Series.
About the Author
Una Belle Townsend has been an elementary-school teacher for nearly twenty years. She graduated from East Texas Baptist College and earned a master's degree in elementary education at Stephen F. Austin State University. She has received many local honors for her short stories and poetry. Townsend has lived in Yukon, Oklahoma, for more than twenty-five years.
Emile F. Henriquez teaches part time in Louisiana's parochial school system. He studied drawing, painting, design, and art history at Tulane University and has worked as a graphic illustrator since 1963. Henriquez has also illustrated Pelican's popular D.J. Series. He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.