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WAGONS HO! by George Hallowell


by George Hallowell & Joan Holub & illustrated by Lynne Avril

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8075-8612-9
Publisher: Whitman

This spry outing contrasts parallel westward journeys of two families—one traveling by covered wagon in 1846, the other by car, trailer and moving van in a modern-day relocation.

Each travelogue is narrated by a big sister, a device that deftly reveals the striking differences—and similarities—between children in the two eras. Jenny says, “Our trip will take five months, from May to September. I’ve heard that some people die on the trail. I hope we survive the journey.” Katie journals, “Our trip will take five days, from Monday to Friday….All that driving—not to mention my brother driving me crazy the whole way. How will I survive?” The pioneering Johnsons must sell livestock and leave behind heavy furniture. Jenny and her brother Ned walk most of the way, leaving the jouncing wagon’s 4x10-foot interior for provisions. The Millers ship or stow most possessions and utilize hotels en route.  Children will respond to the emotions linking the children across time—Jenny must give away her beloved cat, while Katie observes “All I do is say goodbye.” Avril’s appealing illustrations combine cartoonish, kid-friendly sequencing and engaging details. Design elements that include split panels and contrasting typography highlight the dual experiences, while speech bubbles and chatty details unite them.

Vibrantly enlivening pioneer migration for primary readers, this is a fine addition for both home and classroom. (preface) (Informational picture book. 6-9)