- Black-Eyed Susan Book Award Nominee
- Maryland Children’s Book Award Nominee
Headstrong Kate has convinced her new stepbrother, Seth, that it's up to them to take the family's canal boat down the 184-mile long C&O Canal to deliver a cargo of coal. So with Kate at the tiller and Seth walking on the towpath beside the mules, they set off down the waterway.
Can two twelve-year-olds manage the work usually done by a crew of boaters? Can they face the dangers of traveling alone through a country at wardangers that include rebel raiders and sabotage by Confederate sympathizers? Only if Kate can put aside her resentment of her stepbrother. Only if Seth can acknowledge that Kate's experience entitles her to be the captain. . . .
"On the dangerous journey, prickly Kate must confront her worst fears and the worst parts of her nature, while Seth slowly earns her respect. . . . Kate's interior change is mirrored in the canal boat trip, another difficult journey with many steps, secrets, discomforts, perils, and unexpected pleasures. The setting makes this an unusual Civil War story for young people; the characters make it a rewarding one."
". . . a generous sprinkling of adventure starring a gutsy yet prideful heroine."
"Reeder's detailed and realistic narrative of canal life provides a fascinating portrait of a period unique in history. The real strength of the novel, however, is in the depiction of the complex, tangled relationship that forms between Kate and Seth, and the emotional growth they experience as they struggle to reconcile their feelings about sharing a new family."
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