In this four-book series, nine-year-old orphan Katie and her new friend, soon to become her best friend, walk 2,000 miles together along the Oregon Trail, with families in oxen-drawn wagons. Along the way, Katie makes a few life-altering decisions that are bigger than anyone would wish on a girl so young. She also witnesses the hardships faced by her wagon train companions.
The wealth of historical details is impressive and yet pleasant to read, not at all cumbersome. It paints a rich picture of the pioneers’ dilemmas, tribulations, tragedies, and triumphs.
Katie’s friend happens to be a horse, a recently-captured, wild, untamed Mustang. The author grew up riding horses, so the horse details are realistic. Girl and horse get to know each other ever so slowly, and their relationship grows almost imperceptibly every dusty step of the way.
I bought the four-book series at Wal-Mart, one by one, without having read them previously. All four books, from the very beginning, are wonderfully written and held my attention until the very end. However, the end of the series left me with the feeling that the author could write yet another book or two about Katie's life, or even start a new series altogether. For example, does Katie become a professional trick rider or will she stay on with the Kylers? Does she ever see the Mustang again? And about the two foals sired by the Mustang? What do they look like, and which one of them will be Katie's very own? What will she do with it, once it becomes hers? And will Katie ever meet up with the Stevenses again, since they were also heading west, or will she recieve news about her uncle? These are all questions that I think the author should provide some answers to. Other than prematurely ending the series, I think that the author did a wonderful job with these books. The characters are realistic, as well as the situations and knowledge of both horses and life on the Oregon trail. I would recommend these books for anyone who loves horses and/or enjoys historical fiction.
4 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
Just wanted to suggest some ages...these books are a treasure a parent can enjoy with their child...the saga of Katy travelling from the midwest by wagon train is a must for anyone who loves horses or who enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. My 6 year old daughter complained that each chapter ends at a very exciting place....she always wanted me to read on. The following themes may require some explaining or spark some opportunities for discussion for a 6 year old: Katie's original guardians do not treat her well, and mistreat (whip making welts) a horse. Katy was orphaned by an epidemic. In one book we learn that someone's hands got badly burned in a fire, and there is a boy who mistreats animals- whom Katy eventually learns was physicaly mistreated by his father- then she feels more sympathetic towards him. Otherwise the books chronicle an exciting realistic adventure of a young girl (about 10?) who loves the horse she rescues from her guardian's abuse.