Black Storm Comin’ by Diane Lee Wilson

Black Storm Comin'This great survival story opens with the most hopeless of situations – a 12-year-old boy gets accidentally shot by his father while they struggle the slow progress of a wagon train in 1860 in the middle of nowhere, and the father is so filled with fear and guilt and despair, that he gallops off, never to be seen again, leaving the family stranded.  Whew!  Add to that, the fact that the Ma is ill, the newborn baby is very sickly, there are two little sisters, and, since they’re a mixed race family, most of the rest of the wagon train wants nothing to do with them.  How does one survive that?  Colton, the 12-year-old of the story knows his Ma needs a doctor.  First things first.  He gets his family settled into a little town, but knows he’ll be needing a job.  When he sees a help wanted poster for young, skinny, wiry, expert riders, willing to risk death daily to ride for the Pony Express, he thinks all his problems will be solved.  Life is just not that easy.

Colton is spunky and resourceful, courageous and gutsy.  His time riding for the Pony Express is harsh and demanding with cruel weather and cruel people to survive, but our young man is a pleasure to know and you will like how well-developed all these characters are, how interesting the plot, and how coarse, yet beautiful, was our Old West 1860, back in the Pony Express days.  I recommend this very good book for 5th graders and older.

Posted by: Fran D.

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