Title: Fire on the Hills
Author: Various
Pages: 95
Recommended Ages: 8-11
Star Rating: ★★★

The Highlights series.

The Stories.

There are fourteen stories in this collection.

1)      Fire On the Hills in which Ilse’s father is trying to convince the Comanches to sign a peace treaty with the settlers. Will the Comanches agree, or will they murder the settlers?

2)      You Can Sell the Sun in which Thomas works hard to find a job so that he can support his widowed mother and sister.

3)      Frozen Journey in which Rebecca must ride through a terrible storm to find a doctor for her pregnant mother.

4)      Secret Stitches in which Louis helps the seamstress make the first flag with forty eight stars on it!

5)      Harriet’s Promise in which Harriet longs to go to school and learn to read and write, but must watch as her brother James is sent instead. Will Harriet ever have a chance to go to school, too?

6)      How Seth Becomes a Hero in which Seth’s father, John, has left Seth the head of the house while he is on a trip to Concord. But there are dangerous men in the area; will Seth be able to protect his mother and sister?

7)      Danger On the Underground in which Rose and her father must aid a slave girl escape by transporting her to the Morrison’s farm. Will they make it through the deputy sheriff’s roadblock? 

8)      The Cuckoo in the Covered Wagon in which Travis is originally irritated by all of his Grandmother’s extra luggage until a bear stumbles into their camp. Will Granny’s cuckoo clock be able to scare it away?

9)      The Hobos in which three German hobos come to Nina’s farm. She is very frightened by their strange language and habits. Furthermore, she wonders; are they plotting to harm her and her family?

10)   Vanished! In which brothers Ben and Christopher travel to the Roanoke Colony in America with Governor White. But when they arrive there, the entire colony has vanished! Where did it go?

11)   The Sod House in whixh Emma wants desperately to help with the building of her family’s new sod house. But the only thing she can do to help is give up a possession which is very precious to her – a pine box which her grandfather gave to her while they were still in Virginia. Will she make the sacrifice?

12)   Around the Horn in which twelve year old Edward Newmark travels from New York City, around Cape Horn and all the way to San Francisco to meet his father.

13)   Sybil Ludington’s Ride for Freedom in which Sybil Ludington dashes off on her horse to warn the American Patriots of the impending attack by the British.

14)   The Girl in the Cracked Mirror in which Victoria receives a ghostly visitor named Mary in her attic. Will Mary be able to find the doll for which she returned and slip back through the mirror into her own world?

Praises.

A young girl is frightened, but she puts her own fears aside to comfort those younger than herself.

When a young boy notices that his mother is feeling badly, he goes out of his way to play with his little sister and let his mother rest.

A man tells his daughter to “Go with God”. The daughter acts courageously and brings a doctor to help her mother who is critically ill.

A young boy acts bravely and cleverly to rescue his mother and sister from two scalawags.

Cautions.

In the first story, a girl is trying to keep children from being scared, so she tells them a story which includes the Easter Bunny.

In one story, a little boy rides burros instead of working as he knows his father wants him to. His father fusses at him, and the boy promises to do his work.

One girl becomes frustrated with her sister who is snobby.

A young boy becomes annoyed with the demands of his grandmother, but by the end of the story he is grateful for them.

The story of Sybil Ludington’s rode is told. It is slightly feministic.

In the last story, a young girl encounters a ghost who comes through the mirror in her attic to seek for a childhood toy.

A father and daughter tell lies in order to smuggle a slave into freedom.

Conclusion. Not amazing, and more problematic than other volumes in the Highlights series, Fire On the Hills will act as good filler fiction.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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