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Wagon Wheels Book and Tape (I Can Read Book 3) Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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About the Author
Barbara Brenner's curiosity about the world ranges far and wide. Her interests are reflected in the wide scope of her quality fiction and nonfiction. Some of her best-selling titles include Wagon Wheels and Voices: Poetry and Art from Around the World, which was an ALA Notable Book for Children and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. One Small Place in a Tree is a companion book to the striking One Small Place by the Sea. Barbara Brenner lives with her husband, artist Fred Brenner, in Hawley, Pennsylvania.
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My kids loved the fact this amazing little story about black pioneers in 1878 is true. Considering that I used to have qualms leaving them alone in the house while I went to our mailbox at the end of our pipestem, they find it fascinating that three boys (8, 11, and 3) were left alone while their father went further west to find a good piece of land to settle. Then he sends a letter with a map and tells them to come find him 150 miles away - which they do. Simply amazing.
Straightforward writing, simple sentences, my 1st and 2nd graders loved it.
It's a rather long book. You could read it to a child, but it would probably take a few days.
It's a story about a family of black pioneers, with a father and three kids, age 11, 8, and 3. Apparently their mother died on the way to Kansas from Kentucky. When they get to Kansas, it's almost winter and everybody lives in holes in the ground, with roofs made of grass and branches. It freezes and they run out of food, and then some Indians come and give them food. When spring comes, their father says, "You know what, I don't like it here. I'm gonna go somewhere else. You three stay here by yourselves. I'll write you and tell you where to go later." And then four or five months later, their father sends them a letter saying, "Okay, I'm 150 miles away. Kids, make your way 150 miles to me. By yourselves." And they do, taking a small wooden wagon that contains all of their possessions, and making the 3-year-old walk as much as possible so they don't have to carry him. At the end, they make it to their father and the book ends.
So it's a fictionalized account of a story that somebody told about somebody else. Again, I wonder how much of that is accurate. I'm not saying for sure it's inaccurate, but tales do change in the telling and retelling. It's definitely not something somebody would do today. It's just a cruel thing to abandon an 11, 8, and 3 year old to fend for themselves, especially in a very small town where everybody is living in holes in the ground in the middle of the wilderness, and then make them walk 150 miles alone through largely unsettled lands. Man, I guess being an 11-year-old was different 150 years ago. They had to hunt for their own food and everything.
As a historical story, it's useful, and it has a happy ending and everything since nobody dies or gets hurt, but it's just kind of callous how the father treats the children.
Message: Children in the 1870s had pretty stark lives. Or, persistence is important.
For more children's book reviews, see my website at drttmk dot com.