Part of a series, Once Upon America, that highlights various episodes in American history by creating fictionalized stories based on actual circumstances and events, Beautiful Land is a satisfying tale of a young girl's experiences during the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. Twelve-year-old Annie Mae is so excited she can barely sleep; after two years of waiting (during which she, her father, and brother lived in a dugout), they are finally ready to start their journey to Oklahoma, where they will choose a plot of land on which to build a farm and a home. But things don't go as smoothly as Annie Mae would have wished: Their wagon gets stuck in mud; then it nearly pitches off a bridge and into a river. When they finally reach their destination, they encounter outlaws who try to bully them off land that is rightfully theirs. And to make matters even worse, her beloved Uncle Michael will barely even look at her since the death of her mother, as if he holds her responsible. Antic is skilled at weaving large historical events together with smaller, more personal ones to create a convincing story of American frontier life. Her affable style, the realistic dialogue, and lively pacing will make this a good first novel for many readers and an excellent history lesson for all of them.