2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Prize Winner, Historical Fiction; International Reading Association Teachers' Choices Selection. ". . .a wonderful book that melds both past and present together... This novel is a perfect example of historical fiction.” - Monroe County Library System. Young Lars Olafson moves from Minnesota with his parents to Penncroft Farm, the old family farm near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Lars is miserable until he meets Geordie, a boy whose stories of the Revolutionary War are as exciting as those of an eyewitness. Then Lars is faced with a mystery linked to the Revolution, and Geordie’s ghostly tales are his only chance of solving it. One reviewer said: ". . . two terrific stories are intertwined nicely and come together in a satisfying conclusion. Not only is the history presented in an interesting and painless manner, but also readers should come away eager to read more about this period. Middle graders are in store for a real treat with this offering." –School Library Journal, Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline Public Library, MA (THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM is available in paperback and e-book editions.)
Dorothea Jensen is proud to be one of a very few people who has boarded a pirate ship and attacked a Viking vessel manned by real Vikings wearing horns and furs. She was born in Boston, but grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois, site of the Viking adventure. She then earned a BA in English from Carleton College and an MA in Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico. She has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America, taught middle and high school English, tutored refugees in ESL, written grant proposals for various arts organizations, written a play performed in Noh style, and raised three children.
Her first historical novel for young readers, THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM, has been used in classrooms for many years as an enrichment resource for kids studying the American Revolution. Her next novel, A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE, is set in 1825 in the small town in New Hampshire where she has lived since 1991.
Dorothea also writes modern Christmas stories in verse. Modeled on the 19th century classic poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas", these award-winning Santa's Izzy Elves story poems feature decidedly 21st century elves savvy in modern technology.
Here's the runaway vehicle bit from THE RIDDLE OF PENNCROFT FARM to match the one I wrote about in another bubble about A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTE! Somewhat similar, but it is the sound of battle that sends the horses running here, rather than the sound of thunder!
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm
After the two mismatched leaders disappeared over the brow of the hill, I managed to get on Buttercup and take hold of Daisy’s bridle. It took very little urging to hasten the two frightened horses north, away from the sound of gunfire. By the time I got back to my wagon, my hands were too shaky for my fingers to work properly, and it took ages to harness the team. At the very moment I climbed to the seat and took up the reins, the valley behind me exploded with artillery fire. Terrified, Daisy and Buttercup reared in their traces. Up and up they went, pawing the smoke-filled air. Then they plunged back to theground, landing at a dead run. For a few breathless moments I simply clung to the reins, pulling for all I was worth, but the horses were too panic-stricken to feel the bits sawing at their mouths.