Kids can take a vicarious dose of Horace Greeley's famous advice in the activity book Going West!: Journey on a Wagon Train to Settle a Frontier Town by Carol A. Johmann and Elizabeth J. Reith. Spurts of friendly, informative narrative relating different aspects of travel along the Oregon Trail link such projects as building a model prairie schooner out of a cardboard box, balsa wood and an old pillowcase; and constructing a miniature Fort Laramie out of Popsicle sticks. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A good combination of history lesson, craft instruction, critical-thinking activities, and story. The factual sections give background on the American acquisition of the land extending to the Pacific Ocean, Native American philosophy regarding land ownership, Indian land loss, and a great deal of additional information pertaining to life on the westward trails. "You Are There" pieces narrated by a fictional child chronicling wagon-train life and sidebars encouraging readers to ponder various situations and make decisions on the trail appear throughout the text. Short sections explain crafts and skills analogous to those used by the pioneers. The projects are well illustrated with line drawings and children should be able to complete them with a minimum of adult help. The interweaving of various types of writing, viewpoints, and activities results in an animated and interesting whole that will appeal to readers interested in the topic. Period photos help bring the era to life and a few simple maps indicate wagon routes. Laurie Carlson's Westward Ho! (Chicago Review, 1996) has a similar format, but the addition of a story in Going West! is likely to encourage children to read it from cover to cover. Combine this title with Louis M. Bloch Jr.'s Overland to California in 1859 (Bloch & Company, 1990), compiled from mid-19th-century documents, to help students relive the excitement of the pioneer days.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.