Desperate Journey

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Scholastic Press, 2006 - Juvenile Fiction - 278 pages
4 Reviews
Two-time Newbery Honor author turns his formidable talents to this riveting suspense novel about a spirited Irish-American girl who helps save her family from ruin on the Erie Canal in the 1840s.

When Maggie's father loses next year's salary and two of their best mules in a bet with Long-fingered John, the family is left desperate for money. They have only a few days to get the heavy cargo in their mule-drawn barge to Buffalo in order to make a much-needed bonus. But when Papa and Uncle Henry are arrested on an alleged assault charge, 12-year-old Maggie, her younger brother, and their ailing mother must fight all manner of adversity to save their boat, their mules, and their life savings. Jim Murphy is at his best in this colorful and gritty slice of 19th-C. life on the Erie Canal.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The Erie Canal was "one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of the world," a highway for settlers heading west and a route from the Great Lakes across New York state to Albany and on to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - greyness - LibraryThing

Young girl's family must make it up the canal to get bonus for delivery of goods, must meet deadline to avoid losing barge. Protagonist is 12 year old girl who finds courage to help ill mother ... Read full review


Like a Mule
Thinking and Dreaming
Something Terribly Wrong

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About the author (2006)

Jim Murphy is the celebrated author of more than thirty-five books for young readers, most notably TRUCE: THE DAY THE SOLDIERS STOPPED FIGHTING and THE GREAT FIRE, a Newbery Honor Winner. His carefully researched, engaging, and elegantly written nonfiction has garnered the most prestigious awards in the field. He lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, with his wife and their two sons.

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