The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole

Eric Pierpoint. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $7.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8171-6
It’s 1877 in Great Bend, Kan., and cholera has panicked citizens and killed scores, including Caleb O’Toole’s father. The story opens as 12-year-old Caleb races through town to find one of his sisters while his mother lies dying of the disease and a mob threatens to burn down their house. Caleb then witnesses a murder, and the O’Toole children escape amid an explosive gunfight, after agreeing to fulfill their mother’s last wish that they take the Oregon Trail to their aunt’s ranch in Montana Territory. And that’s just the first 20 pages. The pace doesn’t let up as the O’Tooles face down a wolf attack, tornado, flash flood, illness, bandits, traders, and more, while finding unexpected allies as well. TV and film actor Pierpoint offers a rowdy Wild West adventure in his first book for children. He tends to overload his sentences with descriptive detail (“The barren landscape had afforded them little cover in their flight along a little-used road miles south of the Oregon Trail”), but readers seeking action, history, and adventure aren’t likely to mind. Ages 9–up. Agent: Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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