THE DEVIL'S PAINTBOX
New York : Knopf, p2009, c2009
you enjoyed playing the computer game Oregon Trail, The Devilís Paintbox
by Victoria McKernan is for you. It takes the grainy greenish picture of
the old game and paints a vivid picture of what life on the Oregon Trail
might have been like. The book chronicles a young manís journey into adulthood
in the Wild West, starting at age 15, poor and destitute, eating a grasshopper
a day if lucky to stay alive- into turning into a man working off a debt
to himself and others. Aiden relentlessly tries to protect and at the same
time allow for his sister to grow up. Aiden, during the journey, befriends
some unlikely candidates and in the end is forced to go against his white
society in aid of his Native American friends in the struggle against smallpoxthe
devilís paint. Aiden and his younger sister Maddy endure hardships unknown
to readers of today, all the while maintaining an ever-present desire to
move onward and upward. The book is not so much uplifting as is it insightful,
and even inspiring. The Devilís Paintbox is a gripping historical fiction
that does not gloss over events of old, rather tells of life as an everyday
struggle to survive, and survive knowing that you did what you had to do.
Prepared by: Jen Seay for South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominees, 2010-2011
Frontier and pioneer life -- West (U.S.) -- Fiction.
Overland journeys to the Pacific Fiction.
Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
Orphans -- Fiction.
West (U.S.) -- History -- Fiction.
Seattle (Wash.) -- History -- Fiction.