One of School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
A few well chosen words and spellbinding images pack an emotion wallop not soon forgotten in this picture book for young readers about the Underground Railroad.
A family silently crawls along the ground. They run barefoot through unlit woods, sleep beneath bushes, take shelter in a kind stranger's home. Where are they heading? They are heading for Freedom by way of the Underground Railroad.
“A stellar introduction to the Underground Railroad… Though subdued in palette until the eruption of color as the figures reach the threshold of freedom, the author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence.” —Starred, School Library Journal
“Powerfully expressive imagery will sweep young viewers into this suspenseful journey along the Underground Railroad…Lengthier accounts of travel on the Underground Railroad abound, but few if any portray the experience with such compelling immediacy.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews
“With haunting pictures and a few simple sentences, Evans introduces beginning readers to a crucial piece of American history…Telling the story without overwhelming readers is a delicate task, but Evans walks the line perfectly.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly
“The mixed-media illustrations are the main focus here, and they're luminous and haunting. The tension between dark and light visually pulses through the spreads: the whites of the escaping family's eyes gleam in cut-paper collage, the slender crescent of a moon shines overhead, and the amber glow from a window or a searcher's torch stands out with startling distinction in scenes otherwise constituted almost entirely from shadowy blues and blacks.” —Starred, BCCB
“The minimal text drums like a heartbeat. From terror to triumph, a perfect evocation for very young readers of what it means to escape from bondage.” —Washington Post
“The achievement of ‘Underground' is to summon up for young readers the spirit and emotions -- desperation, fear and, ultimately, celebration -- of the Underground Railroad…This is more a poetic invocation of slavery and freedom than a real history. Young readers will need further explanation; older readers will want it. But the triumphant smile of a father, holding a newborn aloft in the boldly yellow sunshine requires no explaining at all.” —New York Times Book Review
“Shane W. Evans has created a book in which the emotional experience of the journey north is dominant.” —Orlando Sentinel
“As the runaways move North, the sky lightens, culminating in a brilliant yellow on the book's last spread. This stunning simplicity respects the young audience and makes us want to join in with the book's closing words…” —BookPage
“Evans' dark, angular pencil sketches, overlaid by shades of deep blue and green, are highly effective -- and as the slaves reach safety, vibrant yellows and oranges shout the glory of freedom.” —Chicago Sun-Times