Don't Forget Winona


Winona waved her kerchief and called:
"Good-bye, cat!
Good-bye, swing!
Don't forget me!"

Like so many Americans in the late 1930s, Winona's family must flee the dust bowl and begin the long trip west to California in hopes of starting a better life. The road they travel is Route 66, now a celebrated historic highway. Jeanne Whitehouse ...

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Winona waved her kerchief and called:
"Good-bye, cat!
Good-bye, swing!
Don't forget me!"

Like so many Americans in the late 1930s, Winona's family must flee the dust bowl and begin the long trip west to California in hopes of starting a better life. The road they travel is Route 66, now a celebrated historic highway. Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson's beautiful text and the illuminated artwork of Kimberly Bulcken Root bring this one journey of thousands to life. don't forget winona is not only a stirring portrait of the migration westward that would reshape the face of America, but it is also a celebration of how the strength of a family can weather the most difficult of times.

A young girl describes her family's experiences--and her younger sister's antics--when a drought forces them to make their way on Route 66 from Oklahoma to California.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Times are tough and Winona's family, like countless others, must leave the dust and parched land of Oklahoma and head west. The old truck is packed to overflowing with all their belongings as they travel Route 66. The young narrator of the family's saga is obligated to care for her little sister Winona, a rambunctious, energetic tyke whose cries of "Don't forget me!" echo poignantly as she waves goodbye to all that is familiar. Through the heat of Texas into New Mexico where they do actually forget Winona (she is returned by a vigilant trucker) the family travels on. Across the Continental Divide on into Arizona, climbing high mountains, and crossing the blazing desert the journey seems endless. The people and sights they see record each part of the hot and tiresome journey where boredom is plentiful and food is not. Finally they reach a sea-green valley happy at last to have reached California. The illustrations done in pastels create a sense of time and place, but are sometimes so dark and shadowy they weigh the story down. The dark palette is reflective of the somber mood of these journeys, but one wishes for a brighter splash of color that signifies hope when the family at last reaches its destination. There is a sense of urgency and adventure in the text and the sisters are a winsome pair. An appended map that traces the family's journey and an author's note that sheds light on this great migration of "Okies" in the 1930s are both integral to a child's appreciation of this historical fiction. 2004, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 10.
—Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A young girl describes her family's departure from the dust bowl of Oklahoma in the late 1930s. Her little sister Winona shouts out, "Don't forget me!" and it becomes the child's signature line. With their belongings piled on the back of their truck, the family heads west on Route 66. When Winona is accidentally left behind after a rest stop ("Oh no!- We forgot Winona!"), a trucker saves the day. The line is repeated at the conclusion as Ma and Pa make plans for migrant life upon their arrival in California. The writing is competent, but not terribly compelling, and the author never creates a strong feeling of identification with the characters. Root's breezy, grainy illustrations, evolving from tan to deep blue, convey both the dryness of dust and the refreshment of water and shade. Back matter includes a map of the journey and notes about the road's historical significance. Pair this with Natalie Cole's upbeat rendition of "Route 66" on Unforgettable (Elektra, 1991) and encourage children to listen for the phrase that must have inspired the book's title. An additional purchase where historical picture books are popular.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060271978
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/30/2004
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson writes stories and poems for young people that reflect a deep interest in family, community, language, and culture. Her previous picture books include My Mama Sings, Sometimes I Dream Horses, and the Reading Rainbow book I Have a Sister — My Sister is Deaf, which has been in print for more than twenty-five years. She lives with her husband, David Kammer, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Kimberly Bulcken Root is the award-winning artist of several books for children. Her work includes When the Whippoorwill Calls, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Hugh Can Do and The Toll Bridge Troll, both ALA Notable Books; and gulliver in lilliput, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, illustrator Barry Root, and their children, Janna, Samuel, and Benjamin, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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