Saturday, October 17, 2009
Review: Sarah's Wish
Sarah Smith, recently orphaned, tries to honor her mother's legacy by carrying on her work in the underground railroad. At the same time she longs to be part of a family again. The book is filled with suspence--will the slave catcher find the secret room hiding the couple trying to find freedom or the slave hiding under the straw in the wagon? It was hard to find stopping points because of the constant wonder what would happen next.
Author Jim Baumgardner dedicated Sarah's Wish to his homeschooled grandchildren. It reminds me of the old Landmark Book series--well researched Historical Fiction, reverence to God, and no obscenities or questionable language. (Although the author did share in one of his newsletters that another book in the series does contain a derogatory term in the context of showing how bad slavery really was).
Sarah is a very inquisitive child who wants to grow up to be a teacher. As she asks questions, both she and the reader learn about life in the 1850's: slavery, herbal medicine, steamboat travel, the beginnings of baseball. After a while I felt as though events were being "set up" just so the author could teach us something new, like when Sarah and Granny going to the wheelwright's shop and we learn how a wagon wheel is made.
The dialogue of some of the characters is written in a colorful way with phonetically spelled words and apostrophes cutting off the ends of words. This might make reading difficult for some students. If you don't like reading aloud, the end of the book gives instructions to download a free audio copy.
I advise you to visit http://sarahbooks.net/ for yourself. You can read samples from all the books in the series, sign up for the newsletter, or get your own autographed copy of Sarah's Wish for $9.99.