From the Publisher
Teachers and parents will appreciate this high-quality combination of text and illustration.
Richly descriptive verse narrative about a girl on the Oregon Trail.
Ormerod's texured watercolors and pastels employ billowy swatchs of color to suggest th vastness of the setting. . . . Vivid imagery makes this lyrical tale an accessible, fresh addition to the children's pioneer genre as it tackles themes of change, courage and home.
"Readers will be convinced by the girl's sentiments on the last page: "Oregon's a fine place . . . . It's home now for me.'" Horn Book
"Add this stirring story to the growing number of picture books about pioneer life." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review
Applegate (Animorphs series; Home of the Brave, reviewed Aug. 13) journeys into the picture book arena with this richly descriptive verse narrative about a girl on the Oregon Trail. Afraid only of thunderstorms, Hallie embraces the trip's challenges with pluck, inspired by a close bond with a grandmother who stays behind ("I am old and this is home,/ but I'll be with you just the same"). In language loaded with metaphor and simile (a creek is "swollen with rain and looking for trouble"; a herd of buffalo stampedes "like a black ocean surging"), Hallie relates suspenseful events and her vacillations between fear and bravery. Colloquialisms enhance the naturalness of the protagonist's voice, for example, "I'm not afraid, I told a skittering lizard./ I couldn't say the truth of it,/ not with the clouds so low and fierce." A quilt her grandmother wrapped her in during thunderstorms and bestows as a going-away gift makes several appearances (as do other unifying elements, like storms and buffalo), tying up the story a little too conveniently. Ormerod's (May I Pet Your Dog?) textured watercolors and pastels employ billowy swaths of color to suggest the vastness of the setting. Often, Hallie or the wagon train appears as just a small spot against a dramatic natural backdrop. Vivid imagery makes this lyrical tale an accessible, fresh addition to the children's pioneer genre as it tackles themes of change, courage and home. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
The only thing that scares Hallie is a storm. Her grandmother is afraid of them, too, and she comforts Hallie when it storms, but the girl will soon be journeying to Oregon in a covered wagon and leaving her grandmother behind. Taking along Grandmother's beloved quilt, Hallie and her family set out across the prairie. Readers ride along courtesy of Applegate's condensed, poetic text and Ormerod's watercolor and pastel illustrations, which stretch like the prairie underneath pale blue sunny skies or dark storm clouds, through the muddy waters of a swollen creek and on into the red bluffs of Wyoming. Hallie's still afraid of storms (though Grandmother's quilt helps), but she finds the courage to approach and free a buffalo calf caught in a rocky crevice. When she hears a great rumbling and sees dust billowing, she remembers her grandmother's words, "What a great gift to hear the earth rumble as they run!" As the unending herd of buffalo thunders by, Hallie knows she will never fear a storm again. A spread of deep, dark storm clouds and driving rain gives way to the relief of fresh green foliage and red autumn leaves topped by the snowy peaks of Oregon's mountainsthe family, including Mama's unborn baby, has found its new home. Readers will breathe a sigh as, on the last page, they find the new baby in Hallies's arms wrapped in Grandmother's quilt. Words by Applegate (author of the Animorphs series) and pictures by award-winning artist Ormerod work together in this emotion-filled adventure into the unknown. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Applegate and Ormerod join forces to contribute to the all-too-small picture-book selection recounting the frontier movement to the Pacific coast. Young Hallie is distraught at the thought of leaving her beloved grandmother and her farm, but her parents have decided to move to Oregon. Hallie has an overwhelming fear of thunderstorms and cannot imagine surviving the journey westward without her grandmother, who always manages to calm her fears. Hallie's grandmother says just the right things to her granddaughter, suggesting she write down everything she experiences on the westward journey. Applegate is realistic about the hardships typically faced by those who made the journey and shows floods, storms and unfamiliar terrain and animals causing a variety of reactions. Once Hallie rescues a baby buffalo, she hears a frighteningly loud sound and watches a herd of buffalo go by. Grandmother had predicted such an event, making Hallie feel close to her, and a baby sister is born and named after her grandmother. The placement of text lacks inventiveness, but the pictures, colors and gentle tale combine to make a solid package. Teachers and parents will appreciate this high-quality combination of text and illustration. (Picture book. 4-7)