Monday, March 07, 2011
Ten year-old Emma Wright, her sick mama and her beloved pony Licorice Twist, have boarded the Sally May for a journey that will take them up the Mississippi River to the Missouri River and finally to St. Joseph to meet her dad so they can move to California. They are being escorted by Dr. Burton who is taking care her mother's fragile health. But Emma doesn't like Dr. Burton because he treats her like a bothersome child and always bosses her round. While on the boat, Emma becomes friend with Patrick, an eleven-year-old runaway who recently emigrated from Ireland. Anxious over her pony, Emma is making frequent trips to this place below the main deck that it is forbidden to visit. She is horrified when she discovers that livestock and poor immigrants are crowd together, starving, unclean and exhausted. When the boiler explodes and the steamboat starts sinking, Emma tries to escape from the smoke to find her friend and family. This story is based on a true river disaster in 1854.
Ages 4-6. Written by Alison Hart.