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Follow the Drinking Gourd

by Jeanette Winter

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1,2215011,355 (4.12)5
By following the directions in a song, "The Drinking Gourd," taught them by an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.



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Peg Leg Joe was an unsung hero in my opinion. Everybody knows about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad yet not many know about Joe. There were numerous others I understand. This book does a really good job of explaining the Underground Railroad and I love the way it inserted the song directly into the text. This story blended reading and singing and that is always a plus for young learners. ( )
  Jmratlif | Sep 9, 2019 |
". . .One legendary conductor in the Underground Railroad was a one-legged sailor named Peg Leg Joe. Joe hired himself out to plantation owners as a handyman. Then he made friends with slaves and taught them what seemed a harmless folk song--'Follow the Drinking Gourd.' But hidden in the lyrics of the song were directions for following the Underground Railroad." Source: Unnumbered front page of the book in "A Note About the Story."
  uufnn | Nov 5, 2018 |
"Follow the Drinking Gourd" was so well done.The images and the text were beautiful and emotional. I really appreciated the note about the story before you begin reading. It sets the reader up with factual information before you begin reading. This book is about a man called Peg Leg Joe who wrote a song which was actually a guide/map for slaves to follow the underground railroad to safety. He would get hired at plantations and teach the slaves the song, and once they had learned it, he would move on to a different plantation. When the time was right, the slaves sang the song and followed the “drinking gourd” which was actually the big dipper. They followed it north and it led them across the country. They encountered animals, hunger, and helpful strangers along the way. It was exhausting and required them to walk at night and sleep during the day. The song detailed rivers and streams they would cross until finally the song led them to the Ohio River where Peg Leg Joe was waiting with a boat to bring them to safety. Then they travelled from house to house of safety along the underground railroad until they reached Canada safely, and they were free. This story was beautiful and uplifting and gives the reader an inside look into a hard time in history. ( )
  owaguespack | Oct 25, 2018 |
Follow the Drinking Gourd is one of the more lengthy books that I have read so far this semester. The words on each page is a guideline for each picture. Sometimes the pictures give more details of the story than the words do. The looks on the slaves faces were full of worry and exhaustion. One thing that I noticed was that the clothes were brightly colored instead of dirty and old. Harriet Tubman is the most well-known conductor of the underground railroad. I like how this book shows a white man, Peg Leg Joe, helping slaves find freedom. While reading this book, I do not have a full grasp of what the slaves had to go through while they were traveling. It is hard to teach children about slavery because their minds cannot grasp the true, cruel reality of it. I really liked how the lyrics and notes of the Drinking Gourd song were included at the end of the book. ( )
  mskathyphan | Sep 11, 2018 |
This is a great book to read when you are trying to teach your students the history of slavery. It is about a man named Peg Leg Joe who would work on different plantations, and at night he would teach slaves a song that would give them the road map to freedom. One day a man named James was going to be sold to another slave owner and be taken away from his family. James and his family left that night to escape to freedom. They sung the song Peg Leg Joe taught them, and went through a lot of hardships to make it to freedom. ( )
  Mas119 | Oct 10, 2017 |
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To Frances Foster
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Long ago, before the Civil War, there was an old sailor called Peg Leg Joe who did what he could to help free the slaves.
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By following the directions in a song, "The Drinking Gourd," taught them by an old sailor named Peg Leg Joe, runaway slaves journey north along the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.

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