Title: Listen for the Whippoorwill
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer Books
Major Themes: Harriet Tubman, Slavery, Underground Railroad
Synopsis: After her family disintegrates, Rosebud follows her father’s instructions to flee when she hears the whippoorwill singing.
My boys have been enjoying hearing me read the Trailblazer books aloud, a chapter a day, each morning before we start the rest of our school work. I like that they get an introduction to famous people of the past, and a worthwhile story that they enjoy. We finished Listen for the Whippoorwill last week. It was another good story.
Rosebud had never been off the Maryland plantation where she was born in all her 12 years. One day, however, she saw her brother ride off on the mistress’s horse in a bid for freedom—and his recapture and subsequent punishment tore their family apart. Soon, only Rosebud and her father were left—and then he disappeared, as well. Could she hold on, all alone, and find the courage to leave, too, when the time came?
Then one evening, in the fall, Rosebud heard the cry of the whippoorwill that she had been waiting for. She went out into the darkness, and found a little woman. Could this be the “Moses” that Rosebud had been hearing about? How could the little group of slaves possibly make it through the wilderness? Could they find safety and freedom? Or would the slave catcher find them? Would Rosebud ever see her father again?
Listen for the Whippoorwill is an accurate depiction of the Underground Railroad, as far as I can tell. Harriet Tubman (Moses) really led many people to freedom in the way described here. I appreciated the authors’ notes at the beginning and end of the book which give some background information and tell more about Tubman’s life. I also liked the lesson that Rosebud learned during her escape, to hold on tightly to God and trust Him to care for her.
WARNING: In Chapter 2, a boy is whipped badly.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12