Rinaldi, Ann. The Second Bend in the River. Scholastic, 1997 ISBN 0-590-74258. $15.95.” 5+ FI Reviewed by Sandra L. Tidwell Tecumseh, son of a Shawnee Indian chief, and Rebecca Galloway are the central characters in this historical novel by Rinaldi. The Galloways, who left Kentucky to live in the unsettled Ohio Territory because they did not believe in slavery, have a large and growing family. Their oldest daughter Rebecca is just seven years old when the book begins, in the summer of 1798, and the story is told from her perspective. Tecumseh comes to the Galloway farm, the original site of his Shawnee village before the white men forced them to leave. At first, Rebecca is frightened by the powerful Indian, but Tecumseh regularly visits the family to talk about Indian affairs and takes time to interact with the “little straw-hair girl.” Eventually, Rebecca gains trust in and then love for Tecumseh. Rebecca also teaches Tecumseh to read, write, and speak correctly. When Rebecca is almost seventeen, Tecumseh asks for her hand in marriage. I enthusiastically recommend this one! It's well written, educational, and romantic. As related in the eight-page “Author's Note,” Rinaldi extensively researches each of her historical novels, and it was interesting to note the many facts that she incorporated into The Second Bend in the River. I think readers of historical fiction want and deserve to know which events, people, and places are factual and what is part of the author's imagination. Teachers, let's use such well-researched historical novels to supplement the social studies and history courses we teach to so that children gain not only a love for history, but also a better sense of people and their feelings.
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