Gib Rides Home
Zilpha Keatley Snyder
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, Feb. 9, 1998)
Gib Whittaker's life at Lovell House Orphanage in the early 1900s is pretty bleak. But along with hours of chores, bad food, and paddlings, the boys do get some schooling, and reading and writing are better than scrubbing floors. Still, Gib's fondest dream is to have a real family. So when Georgie Olson is adopted, Gib can't help being jealous, even when he finds out that the "adoption" really means being farmed out to work as unpaid labor until the age of 18.Then one freezing January morning Gib finds Georgie hiding in the barn, his hands heavily bandaged. Constantly whipped by his master, then sent to work outside without mittens, Georgie ran away when they threatened to cut off his frostbitten hands. Is this the only kind of adoption there is? When Gib himself is farmed out, he arrives at the home he has always dreamed of. But he's soon aware of barely concealed tensions and secrets kept hidden from him. Will Gib end up like poor Georgie?