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Land of the Buffalo Bones: The Diary of Mary Elizabeth Rodgers, an English Girl in Minnesota (Dear America Series)
     

Land of the Buffalo Bones: The Diary of Mary Elizabeth Rodgers, an English Girl in Minnesota (Dear America Series)

by Marion Dane Bauer, Marion Dane Bauer
 

After following her father from their home in England to the plains of Minnesota, Mary must summon the strength to face the challenges and heartbreaking losses that she and her family encounter.

"Land of the Buffalo Bones" is the diary of Mary Rodgers, known as Polly. Promising religious freedom and fertile land, Polly's father, Reverend Rodgers, moves their

Overview

After following her father from their home in England to the plains of Minnesota, Mary must summon the strength to face the challenges and heartbreaking losses that she and her family encounter.

"Land of the Buffalo Bones" is the diary of Mary Rodgers, known as Polly. Promising religious freedom and fertile land, Polly's father, Reverend Rodgers, moves their Baptist community from England to the Minnesota prairie. After a treacherous journey across the sea and across this country, Polly finds that it is no paradise at all. Written with incredible heart and compassion, insight and sensitivity, Marion Dane Bauer has created one of the most sophisticated and courageous characters DEAR AMERICA has seen.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
For Mary Ann this trip to Minnesota in America is a wonderful, exciting thing. At least it begins that way. Her father, the Reverend Dr. George Rodgers has been to Minnesota to set everything up with the Northern Pacific Railroad, which has promised to build the immigrants a town and pay the passage for Mary Ann and her family. Soon Mary Ann discovers that this adventure is not going to be an easy one. In the middle of a violent spring storm, the weary travelers arrive at their destination. They discover there is no town, just an open prairie. The immigrants turn on Dr. Rodgers, demanding an explanation. He is unable to give one but says it will be easy to build the town themselves. But what with? There are no trees. With much suffering and grumbling, the English settlers begin the monumental task of creating a life for themselves. They are stricken with drought, fire, locusts and winter storms. It truly seems that they are cursed. Mary Ann wonders why her father took them from their comfortable life in England to suffer so much in this strange and inhospitable country. She begins to see him as he really is, a good but unwise man. She and her stepmother hold the family together, becoming closer as they share the burden of caring for the family. Mary Ann's relationship with her much loved friend Jane also changes. Mary Ann must move on alone, helping her mother and supporting her father. This remarkable story is haunting, as the author shares her discoveries about her great-grandfather and his family with great understanding and sympathy. She offers no excuses for the often-thoughtless things the Reverend Rodgers says and does. That is the kind of man he is, learned and impractical.Despite the suffering his family is put through, they endure and make a life for themselves in America. We are reminded of how harsh pioneer life often was, even in the late 1870s. This special edition "Dear America" book is truly unique and offers an extraordinary personal insight into a story very few people have heard. 2003, Scholastic,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
KLIATT
The Dear America series is generally based on fictional characters; in this case, Bauer is writing about her great-grandmother and her own ancestors' experiences coming from England to Minnesota in the 1870s. Much of the story is based on historical records. This might not be so interesting to YA readers, but it does add something special to the story, I think. As a story in itself, there is plenty of drama and trauma, enough to keep any YA reader turning the pages, especially girls who are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. Here are some of the elements of the story: a difficult ocean passage, with the death of a beloved little boy and his burial at sea; horrible weather conditions in Minnesota that the English immigrants are not prepared for; the narrator's difficulties adjusting to her stepmother and young siblings; the narrator's best friend Jane's abuse by her father and her subsequent marriage to an Ojibwa youth; the failure of the group in their first settlement. As is true of all the novels in this series, an afterword explains the historical facts of the story, and a selection of photographs helps make the story even more vividly real. (Dear America series). KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Scholastic, 221p. illus.,
— Claire Rosser

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439220279
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/05/2003
Series:
Dear America Series
Edition description:
Special Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 7.68(h) x 0.76(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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