It’s 1863 and 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett has been told by her father that soon their family will leave their farm, family, and friends in Illinois, and travel west to a new home in Colorado. It’s difficult leaving family and friends behind. They might not see one another ever again. When Emmy’s grandmother comes to say goodbye, she gives Emmy a special gift to keep her occupied on the trip. The journey by wagon train is long and full of hardships. But the Hatchetts persevere and reach their destination in ...
It’s 1863 and 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett has been told by her father that soon their family will leave their farm, family, and friends in Illinois, and travel west to a new home in Colorado. It’s difficult leaving family and friends behind. They might not see one another ever again. When Emmy’s grandmother comes to say goodbye, she gives Emmy a special gift to keep her occupied on the trip. The journey by wagon train is long and full of hardships. But the Hatchetts persevere and reach their destination in Colorado, ready to start their new life.
Adult author Dallas brings her historical fiction skills to a new audience with the story of 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett, as she journeys with her family from their comfortable Illinois farm to the unknown world of the Colorado Territory. A reluctant seamstress, Emmy Blue is excited to leave the life where she is "expected to act like a young lady, to sit and quilt... and to practice my embroidery," to confront the Wild West. But during months of walking beside the oxen with the women and children of the wagon train—witnessing accidents, death, and birth at close hand—Emmy Blue develops a fulfilling facility in quilting and a deep appreciation for the significance of the craft. The structure of a journey with an end in sight creates an effective rhythm, punctuated by the dangers and dramas wrought by natives, rattlesnakes, and the relationships within the diverse group of travelers. Based on a true account of an 1864 wagon-train trip, Dallas's story delivers a satisfying child's-eye view of America's westward expansion. Ages 9–up. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Ten-year-old Emmy Blue's life on a farm near Quincy, Illinois, is just fine until her father announces that the family is moving to Colorado where gold is being mined. He hopes to build a store and sell supplies to miners. Emmy's mother, Meggie, is not happy about the move and having to say good-bye to family and friends but, like other women of her time, does as her husband wishes. Emmy's Uncle Will and Aunt Catherine travel west with them. The women take pride in their sewing abilities and try to interest Emmy in the handicraft, but she would rather play marbles with a boy in the wagon train. Later, she takes up quilting and is able to stitch and walk the trail at the same time. This novel is based on a true story, and one of the quilts that the family brought to Colorado is in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden. Snakes, Indians, wild animals and starvation are always potential threats to the group, but Emmy's family is strong and they do not give up and join the "go-backers." This is a great choice for those who enjoy Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, quilting, and strong girl stories.—Tammy Di Bartolo, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA
When 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett's father announces that the family will be traveling from their home in Illinois to the frontier town of Golden, Colo., the reaction to the news is as varied as the colors in one of their beloved hand-pieced quilts. It is 1863, and the Colorado Gold Rush is in full swing. Even with the exciting journey in front of them, Emmy and her parents cannot help mourning what they are forced to leave behind: friends, family, pets--and markers in the cemetery for lost loved ones. However, Emmy's mother is an example of courage and strength, encouraging everyone around her to see life as an adventure and an opportunity to help others. Indian sightings, deadly snakes, a stray dog, new friends and the dreaded quilting hour all keep Emmy busy as they make the long crossing in their overburdened wagons. Period details, engaging characters and clever plot twists will entice even the most discerning fans of historical fiction. Populated with brave and intelligent women, Dallas' story is as much about Emmy's journey toward womanhood as their journey toward the West. Solid writing and a close attention to details make this story more than the sum of its parts. Finely stitched. (Historical fiction. 8-12)