From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-A 13-year-old records the day-to-day struggles of the members of a wagon train traveling from Independence, MO, to Oregon. The story begins about two weeks after Jedediah's family drowned trying to cross the Kaw River and ends when the company is a few days' journey from Oregon City. Along the way, the boy records the effort to cross plains, ford rivers, and climb mountains; he tells of encounters with animals and Native Americans; and he describes the personality quirks of fellow travelers. Readers will care about the characters and root for them from first page to last, but an epilogue chronicling their lives after the story's close may confuse some into thinking that these were real people. Back matter includes historical notes and black-and-white photographs of wagons and pioneers on the trail. This is a useful book for social-studies units, especially when paired with Kristiana Gregory's Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie (1997) and Levine's If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon (1992, both Scholastic).Jean Lowery, Bishop Woods Elementary School, New Haven, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-7. Jedediah's mother is keeping a journal of their family's grand adventure to Oregon to share with future generations. Then she and Jedediah's father and sister drown while crossing the Kaw River in a thunderstorm. Hearing his mother's voice admonishing him to "stop avoiding," Jedediah takes over the journal. Beginning with the account of the tragic river crossing, he carefully records the challenges and hardships of the Oregon Trail. Filled with nicely drawn details of the beautiful but sometimes treacherous land, the dangers from rattlesnakes and disease, and the conflicts between his fellow travelers, Jedediah's story shows the Oregon Trail through the eyes and emotions of a young person who perseveres despite a tragic loss. Like other titles in the My Name Is America series, this solid adventure story closes with historical notes and photographs. Karen HuttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved