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Cora Frear Paperback – March 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Launching the Brave Kids chapter book series, this morsel of historical fiction springs from a memoir by Cora Frear, born in 1887 and raised on the Iowa prairie. The tale opens as Cora's father, a doctor, invites her to accompany him on a buggy ride to visit an ailing patient. Cora, who often acts as her father's assistant, eagerly accepts. After spying dark clouds and a red glow in the sky behind them, Cora realizes that a prairie fire is heading their way. Her father decides to set a backfire he will sear a patch of grass that, reduced to ash, will serve as a "blessed island of safety" when the prairie fire approaches. The doctor's single match fails to ignite, but Cora manages to find one last remaining match in her father's cast-off vest pocket. The scene is set for high drama, but Goodman's (Animal Rescue) bland prose doesn't do justice to the duo's peril or anguish: "The fire was burning around them. The temperature was almost unbearable. The heat seemed to last forever." An afterword amplifies the historical setting. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-3-This brief story is based on actual events in the life of a girl who grew up in late-19th-century Iowa. When the 10-year-old and her doctor father are caught in a prairie fire on their way to treat a sick baby, their energy and resourcefulness save their lives. An afterword tells about the real Cora Frear Hawkins and provides background regarding women's roles. Goodman's straightforward style calls to mind the work of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and provides the action that beginning chapter-book readers require. The short format perfectly fits this depiction of an episode out of history. Ettlinger's black-and-white full-page pictures illustrate historical detail. The story makes a great stepping stone for readers not quite ready for the "Dear America" or "My Name Is America" series (Scholastic).
Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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by Susan E. Goodman
(Aladdin Books, 2002)
This is a great mid-level, historically-oriented chapter book based on the memoir of Cora Frear Hawkins, who lived as a young girl on the American prairie in the last decade of the 1800s... In this story, Cora accompanies her father, a frontier doctor, on a long-distance house call, and they are trapped along with their horse team in the middle of a fast-moving prairie fire. Father and daughter both use cool heads and quick wits to save themselves, and Cora emerges as an excellent role model of a capable, brave young woman. Well-written and suspenseful, a good book for kids who are interested in historical events and pioneer times. (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain children's book reviews)