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|Legends of the lost causes|
Author: McLelland, Brad
A band of orphans seek a legendary cursed stone after a villain burns down their home and they will have to make it through treacherous forests, fight off zombie outlaws, and outrun the villain to find it.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 193312
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 72779
School Library Journal (02/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/02/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2018 “I may be a greenhorn,” Keech Blackwood tells a “lawdog” sheriff, “but I’m far from a child.” And it’s true that, at 13, Keech has seen far more than most—he’s just recently watched his orphanage home burned with all his foster siblings inside and his caretakers killed by a man called Bad Whiskey Nelson. Now Keech is after vengeance, but when he meets a fellow group of orphans out for the same, the quest changes. The group sets out to track down a powerful object called the Char Stone, but Bad Whiskey is after it, too, and he’s got an army of outlaws he’s raised from the dead. Keech and his new crew battle zombie cowboys and the treacherous Wild West as they search for the stone, and discover things in their pasts that tie them to the quest. Cowriters McLelland and Sylvester incorporate aspects of Osage culture and legend into this action-packed series starter. Part western, part zombie flick, this pits scrappy, resourceful kids against some menacing villains—always a recipe for success. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 Gr 4–7—McLelland and Sylvester's debut novel and series opener is a classic Western full of cowboys, adventure, and a sprinkling of the supernatural. In 1850s Missouri, orphans Keech and Sam's peaceful life at the Home for Lost Causes is interrupted when a stranger named Bad Whiskey comes looking for the orphanage's patriarch, Pa Abner. As it turns out, Pa—whose real name is Isaiah Raines—used to be part of a group known as the Enforcers. When Pa doesn't reveal the location of the mysterious Char Stone, Bad Whiskey shoots Pa dead and burns the orphanage to the ground. Only Keech escapes and, on the road, joins a band of other orphans to follow Pa's secret telegram to find the Char Stone before Bad Whiskey and his army of undead thralls do. The characters are all larger-than-life, including a few that stand out against the White majority: Keech is part Osage and Cutter is Latinx. The Old West lingo-laden dialogue is pitch-perfect—not to mention contagious. It's rare to see a Western in middle grade fiction—especially one that, like this one, eliminates some of the genre's more harmful stereotypes of Native populations. VERDICT Though not a first purchase, an interesting step forward for the genre that will surely gain more than a few young fans.—Alec Chunn, Eugene Public Library, OR - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.