Tracey Melcher's Reviews > Follow the Drinking Gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
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Jun 26, 11


Before the Civil War, an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe made his way from plantation to plantation, working odd jobs and teaching the slaves a simple folk song. Little did the slave owners know that “Follow the Drinking Gourd” actually contained directions for following the Underground Railroad to freedom. The runaway slaves must face many dangers on their journey, but they also meet with the kindness of strangers as they make their way to Canada and freedom. Winter uses rhythmic verses blended with simple text to tell her tale. Her illustrations bring a sense of urgency and secrecy to the tale, giving readers a deeper understanding of the danger that slaves faced on the Underground Railroad. This book would be a good choice to introduce young readers to this troubling aspect of our nation’s history. (Ages 6 and up)
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