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Book Review of Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie : The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847 (Dear America)

demiducky25 avatar reviewed on + 161 more book reviews

This books tells the story of a young, teenage girl, Hattie, as she travels across the Oregon Trail with her family. As with all the "Dear America" books, it is told in the format of a diary from Hattie's point of view. As her aunt in the story tells her to record "the good & the bad" she does just that, recounting the wonders of travel, as well as the hardships. I enjoyed how the dates of the diary entries began getting question marks next to them as Hattie begins to lose track of time, and eventually gives up keeping track of the days entirely. It gave it a more realistic feel.

I am impressed by how this story handled various aspects of history. It makes the concept of Manifest Destiny easy for younger readers to understand, briefly introduces some historical figures, and covers less-than-pleasant topics like the Donner Party with tact, but doesn't gloss over it either. I am currently teaching my 6th graders our unit on Westward Expansion, and I look forward to reading a few excerpts to them before I put this book on the classroom bookshelf (where it will hopefully be snapped up quickly)!

All-in-all, this a very quick, but quite captivating read for any reader interested in history and a good story! I loved it! :-)