Curiosity by Gerald Allen Wunsch

 

Children

Curiosity CuriosityGerald Allen Wunsch; 1st Books Library 2003WorldCat

Review by Molly

Ginger Wannamaker and her best friend Irene Fong are spending all of July in Southern Indiana with Ginger’s paternal grandparents George and Abby while the girls’ parents are on a trip to Europe. The girls are fascinated with the old glass filling the window panes in the more than 100 year old farm house where Ginger’s grandparents live. Grandma is into old time rock and roll and George is working on his MG out in carriage house. Laird a Wire Fox Terrier who does tricks for residents at nearby Christian Village nursing home round out the group.

Following a ride in the MG to visit neighbors, genealogists, and local historians John and Harriet Brown who are tracing history of pioneers in the county the girls learn a bit about the Underground Railroad. The Brown’s old house was built in 1850, and has a space behind the book case near fireplace. The hiding place is completed with a ladder and trap door which was used by runnaway slaves to climb up to attic Irene relates that some of her ancestors were slaves in Suriname.

Back home on the Wannamaker grounds Laird ends up in a here to fore unknown pit finished with stone walls. Grandpa thinks perhaps the cavity is an old root cellar. The girls go exploring and later with grandpa’s help find an entrance to a tunnel in the cellar. The tunnel leads to the basement under kitchen prompting a quick note to the National Park Service. Ranger Ferris comes out to check out the cellar and tunnel and by the time the girl’s parents return from their holiday The Wannamaker’s have an application pending to add the site to list of Underground Railroad sites.

Curiosity is a entertaining book rooted in historical fact and illustrated by original line drawings snapping with fun and verve. Writer Wunsch draws on his interests in history, coin collecting, slavery in general and the Underground Railroad in particular as grist for the tale.

Characters are lively, believable and filled with inquisitiveness in this fast paced children’s chapter book. Vocabulary used on the pages of Curiosity is within the realm of most readers of the target audience. The book will prove valuable in classrooms, for home schooling and as an addition to the pleasure reading library. This is a book I could use one chapter at a time in my Kindergarten-First Grade during ‘read to’ story time. I especially liked the ‘Learning More’ pages. At the end of many chapters appear the words ‘want to know more go to:’ where additional information concerning wire fox terriers, Suriname, underground railroad, MG T series coupe, slavery, buffalo nickels, and underground railroad web sites is available. Enjoyed the read.

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