The Jumping-Off Place

The Jumping-Off Place

5.0 1
by Marian Hurd McNeely, William Siegel, Jean L. S. Patrick

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
In the early 1900s, Becky Linville, her brothers Dick and Phil, and their younger sister Joan set out to settle the homesteading claim their Uncle Jim had staked six months before he died. He was supposed to go with them, but now they are on their own. Their parents had died many years before. So they pack up their meager belongings and head by train to Dallas, South Dakota—the "Jumping-Off Place" for people staking claims. Of course, in those days nobody cared that homesteaders were taking pieces of the Lakota Sioux Rosebud Reservation, which had been promised them in a treaty. Uncle Jim had built a barn and a shack for them to live in until they could build a proper house. He also bought two horses, a cow and some chicks. He left the children instructions telling them what to plant and where to plant it and what improvements to make so the government would see they were indeed homesteading for 14 months. Many hardships befall the youngsters, including mean neighbors, a drought, and a rough winter, but they do make friends with other neighbors and Becky gets a job teaching at the local one-room school. The story gives a good feel for how difficult homesteading was. The author had homesteaded in the same area, giving her the knowledge to make her novel believable. Although there are parts of the book that seem a bit contrived, the history in it will put the reader at the scene. The woodcut illustrations are quite nice. There is an afterword by Jean L.S. Patrick giving more detailed historical context and a brief biography of the author. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan

Product Details

South Dakota State Hist Society
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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