Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Alice Rose and Sam Audio

Alice Rose and Sam Audio

Kathryn Lasky
For ages 8 to 12
Performed/read by: Christina Moore
Recorded Books, 2001   ISBN: 978-0788747236

When Alice Rose’s mother and her baby sister die, Alice Rose’s anger and grief flows deep. Why is she stuck here in this god-forsaken place where everything is ugly, rough and raw? Why is she stuck here in Virginia City, Nevada, when she should be living in genteel society in a place like Boston? It would be so easy for Alice Rose to give in to her feelings but that is not her personality. Instead Alice Rose sets about trying to make money so that she can get out of Virginia City. So, Alice Rose starts a dressmaking business, her first customer being a hurdy gurdy girl who is well past her prime.

Thankfully Alice Rose has some wonderful friends who do their best to keep an eye out for this precocious child. There is Hop Sing, a Chinaman who not only helps Alice Rose with her business but who also asks her to buy him some feet in the Comstock Mine in her name. Then there is Samuel Clemens, a man of all trades who writes for Alice Rose’s father’s newspaper every so often. What he writes is more often then not nothing more than outrageous lies but it is certainly entertaining. Alice Rose and Sam have many fascinating discussions and together they set about trying to find out who the Society of Seven are. For some reason this group of vigilantes is stepping up its activities, and both Alice Rose and Sam are convinced that they have some hidden agenda.

After a murder is committed and them when Chinatown is attacked by an arsonist, Alice Rose decides to step up her detecting activities even though she knows that she could be putting her life in grave danger.

For this poignant and often deliciously funny book Kathryn Lasky has created unforgettably colorful and vivid characters. When we first meet her Alice Rose wants to find a place where she will “fit in” more than anything else. What she discovers is that fitting in is very overrated and that much can be said for having the freedom to think and to do as one wishes.