Gwen the Librarian's Reviews > The Devil's Paintbox

The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan
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Mar 29, 09

bookshelves: teenbooks, historical-fiction
Read in March, 2009

Once again, Victoria McKernan has written a gripping historical novel. The Devil's Paintbox tells the story of Aidan and Maddy, two orphans who are on the verge of starvation out on the Kansas prairie when a wagon train comes by and rescues them. Off on the adventure of the Oregon Trail, Aidan and Maddy actually have an easier life than they have ever known before. They have indentured themselves to a logging camp near Seattle to pay their way west. But, of course, the westward journey is fraught with danger, hardship, and relationships and events catch up with the kids. Aidan befriends some Native Americans who saved his life and in the last third of the novel, the title earns its place. The "devil's paintbox" is another name for smallpox and it is illegal for Indians to get vaccinated. Aidan's new friends beg him to help get them the vaccine. The policies and prejudice of our past are once again shocking as this true practice is explored and Aidan weighs his sense of justice and his desire keep to himself.

Well-written, well-researched, this is the historical novel for any reader to dig into before winter is over for the year.
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Reading Progress

03/26/2009 page 185
50.27%

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