Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Prince Across the Water

Prince Across the Water

Jane Yolen , Robert Harris
For ages 13 and up
Penguin, 2004   ISBN: 978-0399238970

When the call is sent out for the clans to gather to support Prince Charlie against the English, Duncan MacDonald wants to go. He may only be thirteen, but he cannot help feeling that he, like his father, should go to fight. Luckily, Duncan gets his chance to at least see the clans gather, and he even catches a glimpse of the prince, whom so many Scots hope will be their king one day. Then he has to leave the gathering and return home to help take care of the family farm. His father however, travels with the prince into England, and Duncan can only wait at home for his father to return.

When Da does come home, he is disillusioned and ready to get back to the business of being a farmer, husband and father. Duncan however, is determined that he is going to support the prince in his next effort to beat the English. Thus Duncan and his cousin Ewan run away to fight with the Scots. They are present at the dreadful battle of Culloden, and see terrible sights that haunt their dreams at night. It is this experience more than any other that makes Duncan question whether the Scots will ever be able to secure their freedom from English tyranny.

This third book about Scottish history and heroes by Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris is both fascinating and horrifying. We learn about the oppression that the Scots had to deal with both before and after the battle of Culloden, and how desperately they tried to secure their freedom. With likeable and realistic characters that we can identify and sympathize with, this is a book that will delight history buffs. Readers of this book will also enjoy another book by these authors called "Queen's Own Fool."