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Children's LiteratureChildren's literature has given little attention to westward expansion just west of the Appalachian Mountains, rather than west of the Mississippi, was just as hazardous. The mountains proved to be as much of an impediment to westward movement as crossing the Great Plains was later in the same century. Pioneers did move west of the mountains, but the hazardous travel isolated them from moving freely and prevented them from getting their goods to market without great expense. The opening of the Erie Canal changed this dramatically. Farmers on the other side of the Appalachian Mountains could move their surplus goods with much less expense, and the buyers in the eastern United States were able to buy wheat and coal cheaper. It took five years and ground-breaking engineering to construct the Erie Canal, but it was truly a marvel of its time and was one of the first steps toward westward expansion. Fully illustrated with uncomplicated text, Stein provides a valuable first look at the Erie Canal. Included at the end of the text are a glossary, an index, a timeline, and additional sources to consult. This is part of the "Cornerstones of Freedom" series. 2004, Children's Press, Ages 7 to 10.