It’s spring of 1878 on the Rockin’ W, and Hallie Lou Wells is as cross as any fourteen-year-old redhead has a right to be. Roundup is over; Hallie’s father will soon drive the cattle to Dodge City—and only boys are allowed! But in country where anything can happen, something does. When Mr. Wells learns that Mrs. Wells is having another baby, he decides to stay home. Hallie persuades him to let her take his place on the drive.Hallie’s Chisholm Trail diary, rich with depictions of ranch and trail life, is filled with adventures to engage any preteen reader, girl or boy. Following Hallie’s diary is a historic summary of life along the Chisholm Trail in 1878, complete with photographs and map, useful to young readers and teachers alike.
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Lisa Waller Rogers is the author of three Lone Star Journal novels for young readers, as well as an anthology, A Texas Sampler. She lives in Austin, Texas.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7-Fourteen-year-old Hallie Lou insists that she can ride a horse as well as a boy can. She would much rather join the cattle drive from South Texas to Dodge City, KS, than stay at home and behave in a ladylike fashion. Amazingly, her dream comes true, and she and her Mexican-American maid set off in a buggy, along with some cowboys and thousands of cattle from her father's and neighbors' ranches. This novel records that trip in diary fashion. The general trials of such a drive-lack of water, dust, bad food, the dangers of crossing Indian Territory-are noted as well as Hallie Lou's more specific concerns: sunburn on her fair skin, her disgust with a vulgar horseman, her attraction to two very different young cowboys, and her perhaps anachronistic repulsion at the slaughter of buffalo by two English huntsmen. For some readers, Hallie Lou's self-willed, somewhat melodramatic narrative will seem exactly right for a girl feisty enough to undertake a man's job in a man's world; for others, it may seem too much like the breathless self-satisfaction of a middle-grade romance novel. While not first-rate historical fiction, this is an acceptable addition to collections seeking more stories for this time period or for libraries in which the "American Girls" books (Pleasant Co.) are popular.
Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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