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|Under a painted sky|
Author: Lee, Stacey
In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 177943
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 22.0 Quiz: 68726
School Library Journal (12/01/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 Gr 7 Up—Although Samantha and her father have a successful dry goods store in Saint Joseph, Missouri, they long to escape: Samantha yearns to return to New York in hopes of a music career, while her father dreams of moving west to California. After her father dies in a fire, the teen is left grief-stricken and vulnerable. Their landlord, Ty Yorkshire, offers her accommodation at the town hotel, where she befriends Annamae, a slave housekeeper. After Samantha kills Ty during a rape attempt, she and Annamae create disguises and join a caravan traveling to California in search of gold. While Annamae's dialogue is written in a colloquial dialect, it doesn't distract from the story. Samantha's voice will sound contemporary to modern ears, yet not inaccurate to the mid-19th-century time period. The ever-present fear of being caught, whether by police or fellow travelers becoming wise to their disguises, is effectively created, as is the primitive life on the trail. As the girls learn cowboy techniques such as using dried buffalo scat to make a campfire and roping horses, readers are introduced to authentic cowboy life. Complications arise for Samantha when she develops a crush on a fellow cowboy; while Annamae falls for a vaquero (Mexican cowboy). This offers a much needed multicultural look at the Oregon Trail, with resourceful, smart, and brave Chinese American and African American girls as main characters. High drama, tension, romantic longings, and touches of humor will entice historical fiction fans, and will be a perfect tie-in to social studies curriculum.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2015 It’s 1849 in Missouri and Chinese American Samantha is in trouble. Her father’s shop burned down, he died in the blaze, and she is wanted for murder after killing a man who tried to rape her. Luckily, plucky Annamae, a slave, helps her escape. A runaway slave and a Chinese girl would stick out like a sore thumb on the Oregon Trail, so they disguise themselves as boys—Andy and Sammy—and try to lie low as they make their way to California. One fortunate night, they fall in with three kindhearted (if a bit rowdy) cowboys, Cay, West, and Peety, and they all help one another stay safe on the dangerous trail. Meanwhile, Sammy and Andy try their darndest to conceal their gender, which becomes increasingly difficult as Sammy starts falling for West, and Andy for Peety. Debut author Lee packs the plot with plenty of peril and Wild West excitement, and Sammy’s fixation on fate, luck, and the Chinese zodiac adds a unique flavor. A great fit for fans of historical adventure with a touch of romance. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.