Wanderville

Wendy McClure, Author
Wendy McClure. Razorbill, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59514-700-4
Paperback - 211 pages - 978-1-59514-701-1
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First in a historical-fiction series, McClure's book is inspired by the orphan trains of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Eleven-year-old Frances and her seven-year-old brother, Harold, meet up with 11-year-old Jack on a train bound from New York City to Kansas; fearing the worst for what lies ahead, they decide to jump off the train. Lost in the Kansas wilderness, they meet another young New Yorker, Alexander, himself escaped from the cruel conditions of a working ranch, and they become the first citizens of Wanderville, a "town" in the woods that he is creating for runaways. Author/editor McClure (The Wilder Life) celebrates bravery, ingenuity, and the bonds of family and friendship in this old-fashioned story of children fending for themselves, building a community, and eluding the adults who seek them. Close calls maintain suspense, but most of the characters—including the four children—lack full development; certain adults, such as the cruel ranch owners, are little more than stereotypes. Still, readers should enjoy vicariously participating in the children's independence and will appreciate their hard-earned triumphs. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sarah Burnes the Gernert Company. (Jan.)
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