cover image The Water Seeker

The Water Seeker

Kimberly Willis Holt. Holt/Ottaviano, 16.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-8020-9

Holt (When Zachary Beaver Came to Town) serves up an absorbing, atmospheric epic of intertwined lives on America’s western frontier. Dowser Jake Kincaid discards his gift—the ability to find water—to become a trapper in 1833. Returning home one year later to find he now has a motherless child, Jake leaves baby Amos to be raised by relatives. It’s a hard life in what is now Nebraska, but Amos is with friends and family who understand what it takes to survive, take joy in the good times, and keep moving forward when life turns ugly. Jake returns each summer, and in 1841 he does so with his new Shoshone wife, taking Amos back to Missouri. Amos’s transformative journey to adulthood truly begins when he is 13 and the family joins a wagon train headed west on the Oregon Trail. The extreme hardships and developing relationships deeply affect everyone whose life touches Amos, but Holt focuses on Amos and his growth. There’s no central villain or crisis that needs to be resolved. Instead, Holt makes it clear that it’s all about the journey. Ages 10–14. (May)