Fleischman, Sid. Bandit’s Moon. Illustrated by Joseph Anthony Smith. Greenwillow, 1998. ISBN 0-688-15830-7. $15.00. 136 pp. A 3-6 FI Reviewed by Vicky M. Turner Annyrose, her brother Lankly Lafayette Smith, and their mother set out for California after Annyrose’s father is declared missing in the War with Mexico. Crossing Panama, her mother comes down with a jungle fever, and the brother and sister are left to fend for themselves. Lank is robbed of all their money and his gold map. Lank and Annyrose are forced to sell the supplies with which their mother had planned to open a school; then they head to the “Hills of Gold.” Annyrose suffers further misadventure when she breaks her ankle and is left with O.O. Mary to recuperate. O.O. turns Anny into a slave and sells off everything she has, including her clothes and shoes. One day, the feared bandit Joaquin comes after O.O., and Anny flees with him rather than stay another minute in the care of her cruel taskmaster. Anny gradually befriends the bandit and finds out he is not as cruel the posters make him out to be. The story line flows well from one situation to another. Even the flashbacks are not confusing. Annyrose and Joaquin come across as real individuals. (In fact, Joaquin’s character is based on Joaquin Murieta, the legendary Californian “Robin Hood of the Hills.” There are no loose ends, no guessing where a character or situation came from, no magical appearances at the end of the story to tie up all the loose ends. In fact, the author has included notes to explain his research and the addition of the fiction to the facts.” 1998 Jos. A. Smith
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