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Author: Henry Cole

Illustrator: Henry Cole

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Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2012

Material: hard cover

Summary: A young girl is going about her day doing the chores that all farm girls do. Today is a bit different. When she goes to the shed to get potatoes for her mother, she sees an eye staring back at her from the pile of cornstalks. What should she do? For days, she takes food out to the shed only to return to an empty napkin. Then one day, the napkin has been transformed into a doll. This wordless picture book tells the story of a slave's stop on the Underground Railroad.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 12; read yourself: 6 and up

Interest Level: 6 and Up

Age of Child: Read with and by a 9-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter thought the story was scary and amazing. She has studied the Civil War a bit at school (4th grade), so she was able to grasp the full concept of the story.

Adult Reader Reaction: Unspoken is an aptly named title for the book. Without saying a word it leaves you speechless. The illustrations are captivating and the images they leave behind when you close the book are haunting. It isn’t until you read Mr. Cole’s history at the end that you understand the significance of some of the imagery in the beginning.

Pros: This story will captivate all audiences (including teens). Because it is wordless, readers can tell the story in a way that is personal and meaningful to them.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a beautiful book whose story will become more sophisticated as your reader learns more about US history.

If You Liked This Book, Try: GIVE ME LIBERTY   SIT-IN: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down   RED THUNDER; SECRETS, SPIES, AND SCOUNDRELS AT YORKTOWN

Educational Themes: This wordless picture book is part historical fiction, part oral history.

Notes: The Reading Tub® received a galley of this book at Book Expo America.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, historical fiction, War, US History, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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