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Author: Van Steenwyk, Elizabeth
The son of a blacksmith and slave learns that his father is using the rhythm of his hammering to communicate with travelers on the Underground Railroad.
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 72511
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2018 It is believed that blacksmiths would hammer out coded messages of escape for enslaved people fleeing north on the Underground Railroad. We learn here that these messages had a rhythm that told “listening ears and hearts that the waiting is nearly over.” Told from the perspective of a blacksmith’s son, this story has a watchful heaviness to it, like the weight of the hammer falling on an anvil, or the weight of anticipation and vigilance with which the slaves lived constantly. A shadowy color palette situates the narrative in the twilight and moonlit hours, perfectly complementing the suspense of the plot. Sophisticated readers will appreciate the irony in the blacksmith’s final act of resistance: forging a gate for the master while tapping out an escape rhythm. When his father falls sick, it is up to the boy to take his place at the anvil, until the time comes for his family to make its own escape. Ending on a hopeful note, the book brings this piece of hidden history to life. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.