This import offers a straightforward account of the reasons why a German family immigrates to America and how they fare initially, along with a brief look at the lives of their descendants.
Raidt's conversational text begins with a brisk summary of the economic situation in Germany in the 1850s. This explains why the Peterses choose to leave behind family, farm and friends in 1869 in search of a new life in the United States. Blocks of text are accompanied by Holtei’s delicately lined and colored illustrations; they are not etchings, but they recall Arthur Geisert in perspective and detail. These vignettes and double-page spreads add detail and assist in imparting information while also bringing characters and setting to life. Together, words and pictures outline the family’s journey in the steerage section, their trip overland to Nebraska and their subsequent prosperity. Skipping several generations, their contemporary descendants are introduced in the final fourth of the book. Motivated by a school project, they reverse the trip and return to Germany to seek out the house from which their ancestors emigrated. Children are part of both families, and the present-day Peterses are a multiethnic family, both elements adding interest and appeal.
While social studies teachers and/or those of German heritage seem likely to be the most enthusiastic audience, the narrative style, informal tone and attractive artwork broaden it significantly. (Informational picture book. 5-8)