Dinah wants to pass on this trip to the past.
Five-foot-ten-inch tall Dinah is less than thrilled when Mr. Marconi "marries" her to her muvh shorter classmate Orin for the fith-grade wagon train project. Dinah, Orin, and the rest of Wagon Train Seven are assigned a two-week journey along the Oregon Trail. But Wagon Train Seven can't seem to get anywhere without a frontier flare-up. Can this be how the West was won?
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Jamie Gilson has written sixteen books, all of them about children, most of them about children in school. And the elementary school where she gets many of her ideas is Central, which all three Gilson children attended. While Tom and Anne are now lawyers and Matthew a photographer, their mother still goes to Central School classes, notebook in hand, looking for stories.
She describes Central's cafeteria in Do Bananas Chew Gum?, its Spit Pit in Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub, and the contents of some of its fourth grade desks in Hobie Hanson, You're Weird. Central students have taught her how to sing "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," how to chew a mint so it sparks in the dark, and how to play soccer on a field of mud.
She spent two weeks with the whole fifth grade class while, in a kind of total immersion, they studied the Western Movement. On the first day the boys and girls found out who they'd be married to for those two weeks. Then they took pioneer identities, joined a wagon train, chose supplies, decided whether to cross a rushing river at midnight, made pumpkin butter, dipped candles, and built mock fires with fake buffalo chips. They had a wonderful time--mostly. Jamie wrote a book about it: Wagon Train 911.
"It's true, though," she says, "that while Central is very special to me, every school is brimming with rich stories. I talk with children all over the country about my writing, and the one question they always ask is, 'Witt you put us in a book?' If I were there tong enough, I expect I could."
Jamie Gilson's professional life has always involved writing and communications. Formerly a teacher of junior high school speech and English, she was a staff writer and producer for Chicago Board of Education radio station WBEZ, a writer of Encyclopaedia Brittanica films, and continuity director for fine arts radio station WFMT. She was, for ten years, a monthly columnist for Chicago magazine.
Born in Beardstown, Illinois, Jamie Gilson spent her early years in small towns in Illinois and Missouri where her father worked as a flour miller. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Speech, she married Jerome Gilson, then a law student and now a trademark lawyer. They live within sight and sound of Lake Michigan in a suburb of Chicago.
Michael Garlandwas inspired to write King Puck when he visited the beautiful Irish town of Killorglin. (He was also inspired by the heavenly Killorglin Golf Club!) He has illustrated several enchanting picture books, including James Patterson's Santakid and his own The Mouse Before Christmas. Most recently, he illustrated Gloria Estefan's The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog and Noelle's Treasure Tale. Michael Garland lives in Patterson, New York, with his wife and three children. He hopes to visit Ireland again very soon.
Michael Garland es un autor y artista ganador de diversos premios y escritor de numerosos best sellers. Ha ilustrado más de veinte libros para niños, uno de los cuales es Las Mágicas y Misteriosas Aventuras de una Bulldog Llamada Noelle, por Gloria Estefan. También ilustró santakid, por James Patterson.From Kirkus Reviews:
When the whole fifth grade embarks on a two-week simulation of a wagon train, Dinah is paired with Orin, a boy she despises, and grouped with an unpleasantly contentious bunch of children who seem set on ruining the game with their constant bickering. As they make their way west, encountering crises both real and imagined, they discover--of course--that the whole exercise may be more meaningful than they thought. Interspersed with the third-person narration are the diary entries the students write in the voices of their pioneer characters. Gilson (Soccer Circus, 1993, etc.) starts with and sticks to a relentlessly truthful depiction of a group of disagreeable children who will be too similar to most readers' classmates for comfort. It's usually to an author's credit to render such a realistic picture of school, but in this case the authenticity--with a predictable plot to boot--is numbing. (Fiction. 10-12) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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