Brother Moose

Betty Levin, Author
Betty Levin, Author Greenwillow Books $12.95 (213p) ISBN 978-0-688-09266-5
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
The harrowing cross-continental journey of three orphans and their American Indian guide is the subject of this story set in the late 1800s. Each of the travelers has a different reason for leaving Canada: Nell is searching for a new adoptive mother; her best friend Louisa is running away from cruel foster parents; and Peter is helping Grandfather Joe escape white lawmen. Between times of crisis the companions experience the wilderness and reflect upon the past. Although details of frontier life are authentically reproduced, some characterizations remain less than convicing. Joe's broken dialect is more distracting than effective; and, while Nell emerges as a sympathetic heroine, her ``almost-sister'' Louisa appears too simpleminded. Ultimately, however, this historical novel proves successful, as Levin ( The Keeping Room ; The Trouble with Gramary ) reveals the plight of 19th-century orphans and exposes the settlers' unfair treatment of Native Americans. Especially enlightening is Joe's recounting of bits of ancient lore, helping to broaden the children's understanding of nature and mankind. Ages 10-up. (May)
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