From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-Revealing life in Missouri in 1856, Meg writes about happy excursions to an ice-cream parlor as well as a horrific scene of a slave auction. When cholera spreads through St. Louis and infects her mother and baby sister, the protagonist and her younger brother, Preston, are sent to live with relatives in the Kansas Territory. Traveling by steamship via the Mississippi and then the Missouri rivers, they finally reach their destination. A city girl, Meg learns to love the wide-open prairie and matures under the brilliant Kansas sky. She helps hide a runaway slave and nurses Preston back to health when he comes down with a dreadful fever. At the end of the brief novel, Meg's mother and sister, fully recovered, journey to Kansas; her father will soon join them and settle there. This easy-to-read book introduces issues such as slavery, gambling, and women's rights; social movements, such as the community of Neosho, KS, which was founded by vegetarians; as well as historical events, such as the violent disputes among Border Ruffians, Southern sympathizers, and those settlers who wanted Kansas to be a free state. Notes and information about the author are included. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-4. When her mother and sister come down with cholera in 1856, Meg and her brother are sent away from their St. Louis home for the sake of their health. A family friend escorts the children by riverboat and wagon to their aunt and uncle's Kansas homestead. Meg quickly adjusts to life on the prairie, where her relatives use buffalo chips for fuel, wear cotton instead of silk, and offer their cabin as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Previously shocked by the sight of a slave auction in St. Louis, Meg has the satisfaction of helping a young slave escape. An appended section, "Life in America in 1865," offers background information illustrated with period prints. The large type and the diary format make the book accessible to young readers, but when a short chapter book includes as many people, settings, and events as this one, it leaves little room for the development of the characters or the treatment of complex issues. Still, libraries looking for short historical fiction may want to add this book from the My America series to their collections. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved