Nathaniel is injured, so his father brings home a boy named John Worth from the Orphan Train to help on the farm. While Nathaniel feels jealous of Worth, who has taken his place and garnered his father's attention, Worth mourns his family and his dream of an education.Nathaniel is injured, so his father brings home a boy named John Worth from the Orphan Train to help on the farm. While Nathaniel feels jealous of Worth, who has taken his place and garnered his father's attention, Worth mourns his family and his dream of an education.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-08-28 LaFaye takes an unusual perspective on the Orphan Train, focusing on the adoptive family, in what PW called a "spare, lyrical novel." Ages 9-12. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-07-26 There's a world of pain in LaFaye's (The Year of the Sawdust Man) spare, lyrical novel set in 19th-century Nebraska. The author here assumes an unusual perspective on the Orphan Train theme, focusing on the adoptive family. The Peales, homesteaders surrounded by cattlemen who are hostile to farmers, take in John Worth after their own son, Nate, is crippled in a freak accident. Nate, the 11-year-old narrator, sagely notes, "A steer you'd have to pay for but a boy you could adopt for free." Readers will identify with how displaced Nate feels by John, but their sympathies may divide when they learn that John's entire family died in a tenement fire. LaFaye paints a realistic picture of the hardships for average families at the time the Orphan Train rode the rails. The Peales have come through tragedies of their own; they lost their farm in Illinois to the bank, and an infant daughter due to a baby-sitter's negligence. Ma is shouldering a chip against John so heavy it threatens to crush her; Pa feels guilty over Nate's accident. It's up to the boys to sort out the tensions, which they do in a lively ending that makes them heroes (they save the area's farms from rampaging cattle by catching some "fence-cutters" red-handed). The author weaves in a subtle message about the power of story, as Nate builds a bond with John by reading him Greek myths out of a borrowed book. Ages 8-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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