Monday, May 17, 2010

The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt

Holt, Kimberly Willis. The Water Seeker, 305 pgs. Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt and Co.), 2010.

Rating : PG (a few swear words, no f-)

Delilah is willing to trade her father's temper for her husband's long-winded tales any day of the week, and since Jake is away three of four seasons trapping beaver, all the better. Though Delilah dies in childbirth by the end of the first chapter, her spirit visits other characters throughout the book as she watches over her son. We get to watch him grow up, too. With a gift for dowsing (finding water under the ground) from his dad, and a gift for drawing from his mom, Amos bounces around from family to family, until his father and Indian step-mom have him join them on a trek west.

Despite a small supernatural element throughout the book, this story realistically portrays the realities of life on the frontier in the first half of the 19th century, and what it was like to follow a wagon train to the far west. The author's writing creates each scene and mood perfectly, pulling you right along. By the end, you feel you just spent some quality time with your own ancestors. Amos and those around him have become your family and you are now able to appreciate them as individuals and understand their experiences a whole lot better.

MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewed by P.K. Foster, MS teacher-librarian.

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