ROUGHING IT ON THE OREGON TRAIL

Mom and Dad are off to Paris, but Grandma has a better trip in mind for Liz and Lenny. All three dress in clothes from the attic; then Grandma puts on her magic hat and takes the kids and the dog, Moose, back in time to 1843. There they join their ancestors traveling west in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail. Stanley (A Time Apart, 1999, etc.) gives a humorous and historically accurate account, with tidbits about cooking on the trail, encounters with Native Americans, and hunting for berries and wild onions in the meadows near the Bear River. Even history buffs will find something new in this description; for example, the author describes removing the wheels from covered wagons, covering the wagon frames with buffalo hides rubbed with tallow and ashes, and floating the wagons across the river. The travelers and their dogs add their own quips and comments on the journey in conversation balloons. Berry (Market Day, 1996, etc.) provides appealing illustrations, rich in detail. The front endpapers show a map of the Oregon Trail in 1843 while the back endpapers show a map of the Oregon Trail today. An author's note explains that it stretches 2,170 miles and was traveled by over 400,000 settlers between 1840 and 1880. Young readers who have discovered The Magic School Bus will relish this adventure of “The Time-Traveling Twins,” and look forward to further adventures. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-027065-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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THE STONE OF FIRE

From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS

Fact and fiction dovetail neatly in this tale of a wonderfully resolute child who finds a memorable way to convince her father that the newly-finished Brooklyn Bridge is safe to cross. Having watched the great bridge going up for most of her young life, Hannah is eager to walk it, but despite repeated, fact-laced appeals to reason (and Hannah is a positive fount of information about its materials and design), her father won’t be moved: “No little girl of mine will cross that metal monster!” Hannah finally hatches a far-fetched plan to convince him once and for all; can she persuade the renowned P.T. Barnum to march his corps of elephants across? She can, and does (actually, he was already planning to do it). Pham places Hannah, radiating sturdy confidence, within sepia-toned, exactly rendered period scenes that capture both the grandeur of the bridge in its various stages of construction, and the range of expressions on the faces of onlookers during its opening ceremonies and after. Readers will applaud Hannah’s polite persistence. (afterword, resources) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-87011-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2004

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