cover image Aurora Means Dawn

Aurora Means Dawn

Scott Russell Sanders. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-778270-7

From a notation in a historical source, Sanders constructs this story about the Sheldons, a family of settlers who spend the night on a muddy road when trees block their path only a few miles from their final destination--the bustling town of Aurora. But Aurora is no more than a surveyor's post, and so, once they are rescued by other settlers living nearby, the Sheldons become Aurora's first residents. ``The next settlers did not come for three years,'' is the book's last line. Eloquently spun is this story of momentary hardship in the face of overwhelming beginnings. In an endnote, Sanders ( Bad Man Ballad ) explains how he came to understand the lives of people from the past; both the note and the story fairly pulse with emotion. Kastner's shimmering watercolors depict the stormy night and the dawn when Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon survey the land that is to become their own. A generous, poetic book, it casts a spell over the past. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)