Monday, January 30, 2012

Review of Wheezer and the Painted Frog - Review

Who killed Usti Yansa? Find out September 15, 2011, in Wheezer and the Painted Frog, Kitty Sutton's debut novel about the aftermath of the infamous Trail of Tears. Healthy little boys shouldn't grow weak and die when they have shelter, food and the care of their families, yet Sasa's little brother, the last of her family, sickens, mumbling the mysterious 'I didn't do it right, I didn't do enough. Why didn't it work?' Left alone, mourning and trying to survive in a new place with new ways, Sasa seeks answers with the help of her new friend, Wheezer. The Jack Russell Terrier seems too wise, too fierce and too loyal to be just a dog. Did the Creator send Wheezer to Sasa and if so, how can a dog, albeit a smart one, help to solve a murder?

From the time Europeans landed in North America, the People were forced out of the land they had known for generations. By the nineteenth century, the United States had pushed them into the remote and undeveloped area known as Indian Territory and promised them food and protection that never came. Plagued by the loss of their ability to farm and hunt, the lack of food and shelter, the disease brought by the White Man, every tribe suffered losses so great only the memories of the survivors could document the dead. This story, taking place among the Cherokee after the Trail of Tears, is a story for all the People.

Also, you might want to read my Interview with Kitty Sutton.

5 Stars
Wow! I loved this book! Narrated in an understated, almost journalistic-like, prose, this book packed one heck of a punch. Told from the perspective of a young Cherokee girl, and obviously lovingly researched, this book evoked intense emotion in me. The terrible march to Oklahoma “Indian Territory” on the Trail of Tears was only the beginning of the brutal hardships these displaced people endured.
The book focuses around a mystery. When her healthy five-year-old brother inexplicably weakens then dies, Sasa must find out why. All alone, grieving, she finds a little dog. The dog has been bitten by a snake and is barely alive. Sasa rescues the pooch and soon falls in love with the rascal. Wheezer becomes Sasa’s stalwart protector as she begins to enlist the help of others.
The "Real Wheezer"
When the dog’s owner traces him to the Indian settlement, he too, finds out that not all is as it seems. The rations and commodities intended for the Indians are not arriving. As Jackson investigates, he and Sasa help each other, and Wheezer’s loyalties are divided between Sasa and Jackson.
This is a moving story that instantly captured my heart. Never verbose or preachy, this tale flawlessly captured the flavor of the West, and the bigotry of the times. Yet, it is written in an inherently upbeat style that had me cheering for the good guys, and booing at the no-good, low-down, greedy bad guys. I also cheered for Wheezer, my favorite character. This book is the first in a planned series of mysteries. I am looking forward to the next one by this talented new author.
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I am not a personal friend this author.
Reviewed by Laurie

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1 comment:

Cornelia said...

The review is wonderful, very helpful and the book sounds great. I'm definitely keeping it mind for my niece now and my granddaughter when she gets a little older. Also I'd like to read it now so I've got it on my btr list.