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Historical fiction account of a family's journey on the Oregon Trail, through the eyes of young Wesley Carrington.
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Gr 3-6-Wesley's family sells their farm in Missouri and heads out West on the Oregon Trail in search of better opportunities. The boy, almost 13, anticipates this exciting journey: "The newspaper articles described things like buffalo hunts, Indian raids, and dust storms. Adventure didn't come any finer than that." Indeed, he does encounter these events, though Baird's tale seems dictated by a history lesson. Unlike Jim Murphy's West to Opportunity (Scholastic, 1998), in which these situations appear fresh, Wesley's adventures unfold in a clich d manner. When he and a friend happen upon two young, friendly Indians, he recognizes his erroneous assumption that all Indians are savages, "After all, God covered each of them with the same soft, blue blanket-the sky." The characters mirror Old West stereotypes with strong, silent cowboys; young, eager boys; and hard-working women behind the scenes. Throughout the journey, Wesley seeks his father's approval and continuously tries to prove his "manhood." The story borders on didacticism with the recurring message that dad knows best. With its formulaic plot and conventional characters, this is an unoriginal but innocuous tale.-Laura Glaser, Euless Junior High School, TX
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Book Description New Canaan Publishing, 2000. Condition: Good. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP74968891