Hannah stared a second time at the crumbling fossil of a building before her. Her eyes opened wide. This was the same building as the wooden figure Nick had taken from her. This building was the Alamo, the Alamo of the past! Mr. Barrington’s voice echoed in her mind, "You will choose an event in Texas history and become part of it.’”
Hannah finds nothing adventurous about the seventh grade—until she meets her new Texas history teacher, Mr. Barrington, who brings in a mysterious trunk and assigns an unusual project: to become a part of history. While seeking inspiration among the historical artifacts contained in the trunk, Hannah, her brother Nick, and her friend Jackie are suddenly thrown back through time, finding themselves at an old Spanish mission in San Antonio. It’s the Alamo, and the famous battle is about to begin!
Join Hannah, Nick, and Jackie as they dodge cannonballs and bayonets; meet William Barret Travis, David Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Enrique Esparza; and learn valuable lessons about honor and the importance of history.
2006-2007 Humanities Texas.
Where has Mr. Barrington gone? Follow Hannah, Nick, and Jackie back in time to the Texas Revolution as they search for clues leading to the missing Texas history teacher. Mr. Barrington’s niece, Miss Barrington, begins the countdown to the past when she opens the lid on the mysterious trunk belonging to her uncle. She and the girls suddenly find themselves in 1836, traveling with a Texian soldier transporting ammunition for General Sam Houston only days before the Battle of San Jacinto.
Meanwhile, Nick discovers what life is like as a soldier after the Mexican army finds him hiding in a tree. Join the children on their historic adventure as the Battle of San Jacinto unfolds before their eyes and they become acquainted with the famous Texian and Mexican soldiers who shaped the future of Texas.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Nick is on a mission. Deeply troubled by the loss of a young friend at the Battle of San Jacinto, he wants desperately to return to the scene of the battle—to alter history. But when he furtively opens the mysterious trunk, now in Mr. Barrington’s attic, he is transported instead to Gonzales in 1835. There he meets many historical characters, including the young Alamo defenders William King, John Gaston, and Galba Fuqua. (Will, Johnny, and Galba are introduced in Book One of the series.) Once befriended by them, Nick finds himself caught up in the excitement precipitating the Battle of Gonzales.
Hannah and Jackie, knowing they must stop Nick and bring him back safely, follow by trunk in hot pursuit. After falling down a riverbank, Hannah is rescued by Lieutenant Ramires, a member of the Alamo de Parras Company of dragoons sent to retrieve the Gonzales "Come and Take It" cannon. The girls are escorted to his camp, where they learn about life in the Mexican army and the tensions that are building in Texas.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Hannah followed Nick's gaze to gray stone walls. In the corner, the highest point on the horizon stood a chapel with a bell tower topped with a cross. It was Presidio La Bahia. They were headed back to the fort in Goliad. On the top of the wall, seven soldiers aimed muskets toward the prairie and hills. "What did we get ourselves into this time?" Hannah murmured.
When Mr. Barrington brings his trunk on a field trip to Goliad, Hannah, Jackie, and Nick find themselves back in the Texas Revolution. It’s 1836, just weeks before Colonel James Fannin and General Jose de Urrea face off at the Battle of Coleto and Santa Anna orders the execution of all prisoners. Are Nick and his new friend Benjamin Hughes being watched by a spy? Will the girls succeed in helping Francita Alavez, the Angel of Goliad, rescue Fannin’s men?
Western Writers of America
Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association
“Now don’t change history while I’m gone,” Mr. B had said before leaving Hannah and Nick to lock the trunk in the classroom closet. Despite Hannah’s pledge to comply, a trickle of beach sand and a slosh of seawater turn to a flood tide after she lifts the lid.
The siblings, along with their friend Jackie, find themselves in a wooden canoe off the seventeenth-century Texas coast—with a gale approaching and nothing to get them home but a magic ring and a list of riddles. No sooner does their rescuer, Sébastien, haul the trio aboard ship than they are pressed into service on the doomed French bark La Belle.
Blamed for shipwreck, attacked on shore by arrow-firing Karankawa warriors, and chased by alligators, Hannah, Jackie, and Nick rush to complete the scavenger hunt with the aid of the settlement’s resourceful colonists. From the Talon family they learn survival skills in the dense, dangerous woods—as they teach a few lessons of their own. But when a feverish Hannah collapses on the night of La Salle’s long-awaited return, will a gold coin turn up in time to redeem her life?
The cave at Mount Bonnell, not far from the school Hannah, Nick, and Jackie attend in Austin, has attracted many visitors over the years, from Indians to Boy Scouts to historic reenactors. But when Jackie's grandfather takes the trio there on an impromptu excursion, they meet a traveler of an entirely different sort: explorer Elijah Barrington—ancestor of their formidable history teacher—who has arrived there from the past. And accompanying him is a trunk that looks oddly familiar.
A slam of the trunk's lid transports the girls into a melee of swirling hoofbeats and bright war paint. Before they know it, they've been taken captive by Comanche warriors in a raid on Victoria, Texas, in 1840. Hannah is forced into servitude, while Jackie is adopted as a daughter. As they learn about life among the natives and participate reluctantly in another raid, Nick races east from Mount Bonnell on horseback in the company of Bigfoot Wallace, Jack Hays, and other Texas Rangers. In a fast-paced adventure infused with the fascinating cultural and historical details Melodie Cuate's stories are known for, her latest installment pits the old order against the new in the Battle of Plum Creek—and seeds friendship in unexpected places.
Best Young Adult’s Fiction
Juvenile Western Fiction
A struggle over a bowl of popcorn begins another time-traveling adventure for Nick, Jackie, and Hannah. When Mr. Barrington’s trunk magically appears on the Taylor’s kitchen table, a family of slaves steps out, followed by a snapping dog. Jackie is mistaken for an escaped slave and kidnapped by a hideous man. Trying to save her, Hannah and Nick are transported back to June 1865 only to discover that even though the Civil War has ended months before, many Texas plantation owners still own slaves. Befriended by twins Sam and Lily, the time travelers witness horrific truths of plantation life: whippings, beatings, and families being torn apart. After Lily is sold to another plantation in Galveston, they devise with Sam a plan to rescue her. Their race against time takes them through a spooky graveyard and over a river teeming with alligators, with vicious hounds in close pursuit. With the absorbing pace and historic detail that Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk fans have come to expect, Cuate leads her protagonists, and her young readers, to the first Juneteenth.
Juvenile Western Fiction