The Santa Fe Trailby Jean F. Blashfield
Introduces the history and economic purpose of the Santa Fe Trail and the resulting settlement of the Southwest United States.
Children's LiteratureShort informative chapters that focus on the lives of the real people who traveled the Santa Fe Trail tell an interesting story of commerce and culture clash. Written with young children in mind, this slim volume tells a none-the-less compelling story of the development of the Southwest and the conflict it brought to the native people. Words are unobtrusively defined, pictures complement the text and are well-captioned, and chapters focus on discreet sections of the history of the Trail. These attributes contribute to the success of the book (and the series) as it introduces young readers to a more complex and three-dimensional view of American history than has been traditionally available. A glossary, lists of additional resources, events in chronology and a list of important people appear at the book's conclusion and make this book an excellent choice for young report writers and information seekers. Part of the "We the People" series of books about American History. 2001, Compass Point Books, $21.26. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Judy Katsh
School Library JournalGr 3-6-With their attractive covers, abundant illustrations, and accessible texts, these three volumes are visually appealing, but their compactness results in a diminished view of the sweeping story of westward migration in 19th-century America. Each title follows a logical formula: a description of the political, social, and economic climate that prompted Americans to travel into harsh, unknown territory; an account of the hardships and successes they experienced along the way; and a brief overview of the impact these migrations ultimately made on the development of new cities and states. Maps, tinted engravings, and tintype portraits help to establish time and place. Vintage black-and-white photographs provide an interesting contrast to the modern color photographs showing frontier landmarks that the adventurers passed as well as vestiges from their journeys still visible today, such as deep wheel ruts across open prairie. While the narratives are clear and informative, they tend to be dry and impersonal. These are solid entry-level books for students, but more detail and depth-including extensive recollections by the pioneers themselves-can be found in Leonard Everett Fisher's The Oregon Trail (1990), David S. Lavender's The Santa Fe Trail (1995, both Holiday), and Arthur Blake and Pamela Daly's The Gold Rush of 1849 (Millbrook, 1995; o.p.).-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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