The Water Seeker

309p. 978-0-80508-020-9.
Gr 5—8—Born near Independence, MO, in 1833, Amos Kincaid has a difficult life from the start: his mother dies giving birth to him, his father is an often-absent trapper, and his early years are punctuated by illness, tense encounters with Native Americans, and hard work. When Jake finally returns to reclaim the growing boy, he takes him on one of the many pioneer trains heading to Oregon while hired on as a scout. Both Jake and Amos have a gift for dowsing water, but neither this nor other magical realism elements (such as manifestations of Amos's dead mother) add much to the story, which is at its best when detailing the harsh and often deadly conditions faced on the way to the Willamette Valley. However, Amos's coming-of-age story, shaped by the trials he faces and the influences of friends, relatives, and loves, is a well-developed character study. Libraries needing historical fiction will find this a worthy addition.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
Amos Kincaid has a gift for dowsing--finding water--just like his father, but when Amos's family makes their way west across the frontier he hides his ability from his father, who considers it a curse. As Amos grows, he learns to accept his disappointments, losses, and his destiny as a dowser. A flowery but earnest narrative style brings integrity to this gentle tale.

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