Oh how I love children’s books from the fifties!
Young Joel Brigham has journeyed all the way from Vermont to get to the Great Road. Stretching as it does from Maryland to Illinois, The Road is the meeting place of the nation – it’s how farmers from the West send their crops back East to be sold, and how the merchants from back East send their merchandise out to the West to be bought by the settlers. And Joel has a good reason for making his way to the Road – his brother, Peter, is one of the Road’s best wagoneers. Joel hopes to join his brother wherever his home is and become a wagoneer himself.
But finding his brother isn’t as easy as it sounds. When Joel meets up with Amos Fair, a roving peddler, he decides to take Amos up on his offer to travel with him and see the Road. As he travels, he observes the fine mettle of the new country’s settlers. But will he find his brother? And will his brother accept his dream to be a wagoneer?
Like I said, I love the children’s stories from the fifties. They don’t often offer the realism of some of today’s stories, but they usually feature a large-hearted protagonist who learns from his experiences and is a stronger person by the end of his adventures.
This story is no exception. As Joel travels with Amos, he learns about the ways of the Road – and the history of the surrounding areas. He meets pioneers who have had to literally carve their place out of the wilderness. He meets new settlers who have yet to prove their mettle. And finally, he puts in his own apprenticeship with the Road by travelling it and helping those who live along it.
Amos Fair is a wise man – a very wise man. The quiet of his travels has given him the opportunity to ruminate over many truths, and he takes his time with Joel as an opportunity to pass on that wisdom in the form of adages and practical lessons.
‘Gad’ and ‘dang’ are each used once.
Conclusion. A great story – children will profit from reading this book.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret