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DON’T FORGET WINONA by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson


by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson & illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-027197-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

As drought forces a family from their farm in Oklahoma, their trip west via Route 66 is recounted in first-person voice by the older sister of Winona, a rambunctious little girl who loves to laugh, sing, and run around instead of listening to her sister, who’s responsible for her. As they pack the truck, Winona hides among the cook pots and blankets and laughingly says, “Don’t forget me!” This theme runs through the story, as she does get left behind at the New Mexico state line, but is retrieved by a truck driver. Later, Winona is thrilled to discover a town in Arizona with her name. Adults will recognize the historic time when Okies fled to escape the terrible dust storms, but kids will appreciate the unnamed narrator’s emotions and be charmed by Winona’s likable impishness. Root’s familiar wispy, softly hued, blue-toned watercolors are the right match to convey the countryside, while details subtly add credence to the family’s experiences. The first-hand voice brings the journey to life, personalizing the hardships the family weathers and characterizing an unforgettable little girl. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)