Walking into the Wild

Written by Nancy Means Wright
Review by Janice Derr

After having their home raided by Tories and Indians, the Foot children and their mother retreat south to live with relatives. The children are not sure whether their father is dead or alive, as he was taken captive during the raid, and their mother is so traumatized by the experience that she is immobile and barely able to speak. Frustrated with their situation, Rachel, Deborah, and Abel decide to make the journey north to reclaim their farm and, hopefully, their father. Without the aid of a horse and wagon or a chaperone, the children are forced to walk alone through the woods of the Republic of Vermont. What drives the children is their faith that their father is still alive, and Rachel’s desire to find the man who has promised to marry her.

Nancy Means Wright jumps so quickly into the action of the story that she leaves out much-needed character development. It is hard to be invested in the children’s journey with so little information about them. The journey itself, however, is full of the many, sometimes comical, scrapes that children get into. Wright also weaves in many historical details, but it feels like a missed opportunity when she repeatedly references Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen, yet he never appears in the story. Overall, the book is a quick, light read and a good introduction to middle schoolers interested in the Revolutionary War.