SUNSETS OF THE WEST by Tony Johnston

SUNSETS OF THE WEST

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The travels of a family from Maine are chronicled in the sights, smells, and sounds of their wagon journey. At first, Pa is the one with the urge to move west, a longing to see the Sierras and the prairie. But his longing gradually infects the whole family with new dreams as they experience the trail. Buffalo, wolves, Indians, other travelers, and the creak of the wagon and its contents are their constant companions . . . along with the new stars in the sky. With the new wonders also come new hardships—lack of rain, and then too much of it, the deaths of animals and newfound friends, and the giving up of precious possessions. The tears constantly mix with the hopes and dreams. But as the sun sets over the Sierras for the first time, the family knows it has reached home. Johnston (That Summer, p. 571, etc.) fills her characteristically fluid text with the sights and sounds the family was likely to encounter on their journey—things of interest to young readers. The trials and celebrations of the family can seem almost too extreme at times, with the wild swings from good to bad occurring only sentences apart. But each description feels comfortably right. Lewin’s (Big Jimmy’s Kum Kau: Chinese Take Out, 2001, etc.) stunning watercolors put the reader right on the prairie with the characters, making the experience real. His characters and scenery are infused with life and vividly portray the setting. A richly rewarding journey. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-22659-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002




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