From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6--Set in the early 20th century, this novel is based on the experiences of brothers Bud and Temple Abernathy. Bud has always dreamed about seeing the exotic places that his father describes in his stories. Although he is only nine years old, he carefully plots a route for him and his five-year-old brother to follow. With their daddy's permission and certain stipulations, the boys set out alone on horseback from their home in Oklahoma to travel through the Texas desert to Santa Fe, NM. During their trek, they encounter many dangers including quicksand, rattlesnakes, bad water, and mirages. They also meet kindhearted people who provide them with food and lodging. Ultimately, they are successful in their quest to visit all the locations on their itinerary and still return home in time for the beginning of the school year. The author uses dialect in the characters' conversations and includes historical figures, such as Theodore Roosevelt, to lend authenticity to the story. The boys' relationship develops from Temple's hero worship of his older brother to a truly close and loving friendship. Written with the matter-of-fact tone of a tall tale, the narrative provides glimpses of the old West and a way of life that is about to change forever. Filled with action and humor, it will appeal to reluctant readers as well as to those who are seeking stories of adventure and danger.--Lana Miles, Duchesne Academy, Houston, TX
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Gr. 5-7. In this well-told, fictionalized account of a true-life adventure, nine-year-old Bud Abernathy and his five-year-old brother, Temple, ride on horseback across the from Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and back. With the blessing of their incredibly indulgent father, the boys set out on this journey on nothing more than a whim. Young readers may find the first few chapters a bit slow, but things pick up when the brothers hit the trail and encounter rattlesnakes, scorpions, wolves, dust storms, and even kindly outlaws. Hunt layers his compelling adventure story with lively colloquial language as well as rich descriptions of the Old West in its waning days--a world in which the automobile is just beginning to overtake the horse. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved