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It's 1866 and 12-year-old Will Scott is not happy to be riding the orphan train. That's because Will's not really an orphan. He has a father--Jesse, a circus performer. But Will is no good at circus tricks, and Jesse tells him he'd be better off with a new family out West: "I'm giving you a better life, Will."
Will is placed with the kindly Dr. and Mrs. Wallace. Assisting Dr. Wallace on his rounds of the local farms, Will finds to his surprise that he's really good at something--helping people who are sick and hurt. But he still misses his father terribly. And then one night, Jesse's circus comes to town....
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Grade 4-6AThe orphan train isn't just for orphans, as 12-year-old Will learns when his self-centered father sends him west to Missouri with the Children's Aid Society. Will is taken in by a loving couple, but struggles with feelings of being an outsider and with his desire to prove his own worth to his biological father. The title refers to the opportunity he has to choose between remaining with his foster parents or returning to his father. The boy's inner turmoil is believable and the details of everyday life in 1866 are well integrated into the story. The plot, however, leans heavily on coincidence, and there is a lack of subtlety in characterization and theme. Readers will applaud Will's final choice, even though there is little evidence of growth in the boy's confidence and self-awareness. A slim volume with large type, accessible vocabulary, and an older protagonist, this may be an appropriate title for students with book reports due tomorrow. Brief information on the orphan trains and a map of their routes precede the story, with a glossary and sizable historical afterword appended. This is an acceptable addition where demand warrants but no match for Andrea Warren's true account in Orphan Train Rider (Houghton, 1996) or Nixon's early books about the Kelly family in the "Orphan Train Quartet" (Bantam).AFaith Brautigan, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1998. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0385322941
Book Description Delacorte Books for Young Read, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0385322941
Book Description Delacorte Books for Young Read, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110385322941
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0385322941