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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2013 One day everything changes: Pringle, the daughter of a wealthy Scranton coal-mining family, learns that her parents have perished in a carriage accident, and she and her brother, Gideon, are shifted to the care of cruel relatives. Rather than submit to abuse, and worried that Gideon, a child with Down syndrome, will be institutionalized, Pringle takes her brother and flees to Chicago in hopes of independence and a future opportunity to access her inheritance. Bartoletti’s Dear America entry plunks the high-action historical diary tale into the swirl of events surrounding the Chicago Fire of 1871 and the general labor unrest of the day. Lively writing and strong characterizations, especially that of our plucky heroine, keep the pages turning. The connection to Alice in Wonderland, per the title, is a bit overworked and involves a shadowy character with a connection to the accidental death of the parents. Plot coincidences abound, but this and the other Dear America titles continue to offer spirited adventures of kids and young adults who help flesh out America’s story. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2013 Gr 4–7—Pringle Rose and her brother, Gideon, who has Down's syndrome, have had a privileged upbringing in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1871. Their parents' death in a suspicious carriage accident changes everything. Gideon survives, but has not spoken since the accident. On a visit to the cemetery, Pringle meets Rabbit, for whom she develops romantic feelings. The siblings' uncaring Uncle Edward and his vicious wife move in, and when it becomes clear that they plan to send Gideon away, Pringle plans their escape. On the way to Chicago, they befriend Gwen Pritchard, a woman traveling with her children in the same train car, and their closeness is solidified after they survive a terrifying crash. When their mother's friend is unable to provide refuge, Pringle and Gideon find a home with the Pritchards. As Pringle learns more about the conditions of mine workers, she begins to rethink what her father, a mine owner, taught her. When they learn the truth about their parents' accident and the role Rabbit played, Gideon runs away. As Pringle tries to find him, the Chicago Fire rages. The epilogue sums up the rest of their story, and the historical note provides context and inspiration. Readers will enjoy this novel with its multiple historical events and engaging personal story.—Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.