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Schwartz, Virginia Frances. If I just had two wings.

Fitzhenry and Whiteside (121 Harvard Ave., Suite 2, Allston, MA 02134; 224p. map. c2001. 0-7737-6192-6. $795. J

To quote KLIATT's January 2002 review of the hardcover edition:

Phoebe, age 13, is a slave assigned to picking cotton on an Alabama plantation, but she dreams of freedom. An older girl. Liney, who is 19 and has two young daughters, works with Phoebe in the cotton fields, but Liney doesn't just dream of freedom--she actively searches out a way to escape via the Underground Railroad. Liney runs away, but she is caught and whipped terribly. Undeterred. Liney plans to set off again, this time with her little girls--and with Phoebe, who decides to go with Liney rather than wait to be sold in an upcoming auction. Joined by a teenager named Jake, they set out for Ohio, with Canada as their ultimate destination. They endure months of cold, hunger, and fear on their journey, trying to avoid slave catchers, before finally reaching their goal.

Full of details of the Underground Railroad, with actual names of conductors and stations and fascinating background on the many secret signals and songs, this is a well-written and exciting story that will appeal to fans of historical fiction and find a place in middle-school American history classrooms. Schwartz. an elementary school teacher, grew up in southern Ontario, where many of the slaves who escaped on the Underground Railroad settled. An author's note at the end talks about her research and her inspiration for the novel.
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Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2003
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