cover image Thunder Rolling in the Mountains

Thunder Rolling in the Mountains

Scott O'Dell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $17 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-395-59966-2

At the request of the late Newbery medalist O'Dell ( Island of the Blue Dolphins ), his widow, Hall, collaborated on this story about Sound of Running Feet, the daughter of Chief Joseph of the Ne-mee-po, or Nez Perce Indians. Sound of Running Feet narrates the betrayal of her people, their flight, last battles and final surrender. In typical O'Dell fashion, the novel serves up a generous helping of historical fact and general information about the Ne-mee-po and their way of life. Unfortunately, a formal and reserved tone (``I had loved him for a long time, for as many moons as there were stars'') keep the reader at arm's length from the characters, which in turn does little to amplify or personalize their plight. Readers may find that the novel's choicest parts are those trimmed closest to the factual bone--though topping Chief Joseph's ``Hear me, my chiefs'' speech will prove difficult, this work may encourage youngsters to sample some of its source material. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)