In Hadley Irwin’s JIM-DANDY twelve-year-old Caleb’s life on a Kansas homestead soon after the Civil War is painfully empty until the foal Dandy is born. The bond between boy and horse grows, allowing Caleb to cope with the memory of his mother’s death and the harshness of his stepfather, Webb Cotter. When drought threatens Webb’s claim to the homestead, he’s forced to sell Dandy to Custer’s Seventh Cavalry stationed at nearby Fort Hays. Caleb follows Dandy which plunges them into the Winter Campaign against the Cheyennes culminating in the massacre of Chief Black Kettle’s camp at the Washita. Based on fact, this vivid novel of the love of a boy for a horse set among conflicts of courage, loyalty and death will engage and challenge young readers.
Shimmering illustrations seem to radiate the heat as Sam and his father set out one afternoon on a journey marked by moments that will resonate for all readers in CLIMBING KANSAS MOUNTAINS by George Shannon, illustrated by Thomas B. Allen. The sure sense of place, delight in wordplay and visual richness so evident in these pages create a quietly triumphant picture book that conveys strong feelings of security and love. Author Shannon vividly remembers his early years in Kansas. “The town I grew up in is very much like the one illustrator Tom Allen has drawn.” Illustrator Thomas B. Allen lived in Lawrence, Kansas where he was Hallmark Distinguished Professor in the Department of Design at the University of Kansas.