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Old Crump: The True Story of a Trip West Hardcover – March 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 440L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1st edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823416089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823416080
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,649,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lawlor's (Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit) historical account is at once a chronicle of a punishing pioneer trek and an encomium to a faithful ox. A child recalls his family's trip across Death Valley, where the bitterly cold nights compel the family to burn their wagon for firewood. Unlike the other oxen, which buck off their riders, Old Crump carries the narrator and his three siblings on its back, moving "slow and steady. Never a stumble or a fall." When the family finally reaches California, the father lets Old Crump roam the pasture, in gratitude for the ox's steadfastness. The narrative pays as much attention to the trek's forbidding circumstances as it does the ox's importance. Lawlor, working from period diaries, focuses on the journey's hardships, making this a solid introduction to the historic journey to the West: "Ma crumbled bits of sugar for us to hold in our mouths so we wouldn't think so much about our thirst or empty stomachs." Winch's (The Old Woman Who Loved to Read) mixed-media illustrations foreground the ox and children in only one of the spreads. Elsewhere, he plays up the drama of nature's perils, favoring a predator's-eye view and thus subtly emphasizing the desert's dangers. The illustrations set the artist's characteristic folk-art-style figures against photographs of the Valley's lunar rocks and sands. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-A group of wagoners making their way to California in 1850 attempt a short cut and end up having to cross Death Valley. Lawlor begins their story in medias res: on the first page of her narrative, the travelers are already in trouble. Faced with sheer walls of rock, they must find a passage out of the mountains while faced with dwindling supplies. By the time they reach Death Valley, the parents put the children in makeshift saddle bags and tie them to the ox. Though other draft animals falter and die for lack of food and water, faithful Old Crump plods on. At last, nearly dead from thirst, the family stumbles onto a ranch where they are given food and drink. When they eventually settle in the San Joaquin Valley, Old Crump is kept as a cherished family member. Winch's illustrations are an interesting blend of photographs and original art; paintings of the group and their activities are depicted against photos of barren, bleak rock or distant mountains. A hawk is pictured on almost every spread, watching the travelers. Although the author refers to the historical basis of this story only in a brief introductory note, the book will make an interesting addition to other works about the Westward movement.
Ruth Semrau, Upshur County Public Library, Gilmer, TX
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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