Wagons Ho!

Wagons Ho!

by George Hallowell, Joan Holub, Lynne Avril

Two girls move from Missouri to Oregon — one in 1846 and one in 2011. One trip takes five months and the other five days. One trip is in a covered wagon, the other in a car. But both girls will miss their old homes and worry about the long trip. Both girls stop at well-known landmarks and travel the Rocky Mountains. And as each girl reaches her new home, she


Two girls move from Missouri to Oregon — one in 1846 and one in 2011. One trip takes five months and the other five days. One trip is in a covered wagon, the other in a car. But both girls will miss their old homes and worry about the long trip. Both girls stop at well-known landmarks and travel the Rocky Mountains. And as each girl reaches her new home, she finds her new room and her new friends. Wagons Ho! is a unique look at both history and the concerns all kids have when moving to a new home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What do a farm girl in 1846 and her 21st-century, cellphone-using counterpart have in common? When their respective families announce they're moving from Missouri to Oregon, both face some of the biggest challenges of their lives. Jenny, the pioneer girl, must leave her pet cat behind with cousins and risk life and limb on the Oregon Trail, including crossing the Rockies on foot ("It takes almost two months to cross them"). Modern-day Katie has it a lot cushier ("We stay in a hotel with a pool!"), but she still has to say good-bye to her BFF Sophie and share the backseat with her carsick little brother, "Mr. Annoying." While debut author Hallowell and the prolific Holub effectively intertwine history lessons with personal revelations, Avril (The Pirate of Kindergarten) handles the dual narratives and contrasting time frames with aplomb, often employing parallel or side-by-side panels so readers can compare the two girls' great adventures. While Jenny comes off as rather dutiful and dreary compared to feisty Katie, the book is packed with detail about the girls' lives, revealed in captions, conversations, and vignettes. Ages 6–9. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
This book offers an excellent solution to the perennial social studies problem: how do you help a child understand another culture, time, or geography? Each two-page spread contrasts in text and graphics the Johnson family going West in 1846, complete with Lulu, a cow with a fly-swatter tail, and Bessie, their covered wagon filled with all their possessions, and the Miller family moving now between the same two cities, Independence, Missouri and Oregon City, Oregon. As the journeys of the two daughters unfold, the reader can recognize the similar emotions—sadness at leaving friends and home to delight at meeting new friends, but also understand much better the difficulties of travel in 1846 compared with now. The present day family does not face losing all their possessions when a raft overturns; instead they cross a well-constructed bridge. The present day family buys a house and eats take out while the 1846 family holds a roof-raising with all their friends in order to have shelter and eats what they grow. Both illustrations and text contribute detail and surprises to highlight the changes in lifestyle between 1846 and now. Librarians should snap up this book for primary school libraries! Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Excitement is high and challenges abound when a family relocates halfway across the country. This was true for early settlers following the Oregon Trail, and it is still true today. Pictures and text follow two such westward moves: the Johnsons in 1846 and the Millers in 2011. Colorful spreads provide side-by-side and top-to-bottom comparisons of travel in the difference centuries. Carefully chosen facts make contrasts and similarities easy to comprehend. Cartoon panels and brief text highlight the preparations, the goodbyes, and daily activities on the way. Some things are very different (speed of travel), yet others are quite similar (missing friends). Introductory paragraphs provide more facts and information. Readers will relate to the travel activities and smile at the humor in the pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings. Together, the art and text make a good introduction to the Westward Movement. The format is best suited for individual or small-group reading. Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series (HarperCollins) will appreciate this fictional/factual picture book.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Kirkus Reviews

This spry outing contrasts parallel westward journeys of two families—one traveling by covered wagon in 1846, the other by car, trailer and moving van in a modern-day relocation.

Each travelogue is narrated by a big sister, a device that deftly reveals the striking differences—and similarities—between children in the two eras. Jenny says, "Our trip will take five months, from May to September. I've heard that some people die on the trail. I hope we survive the journey." Katie journals, "Our trip will take five days, from Monday to Friday....All that driving—not to mention my brother driving me crazy the whole way. How will I survive?" The pioneering Johnsons must sell livestock and leave behind heavy furniture. Jenny and her brother Ned walk most of the way, leaving the jouncing wagon's 4x10-foot interior for provisions. The Millers ship or stow most possessions and utilize hotels en route. Children will respond to the emotions linking the children across time—Jenny must give away her beloved cat, while Katie observes "All I do is say goodbye." Avril's appealing illustrations combine cartoonish, kid-friendly sequencing and engaging details. Design elements that include split panels and contrasting typography highlight the dual experiences, while speech bubbles and chatty details unite them.

Vibrantly enlivening pioneer migration for primary readers, this is a fine addition for both home and classroom. (preface) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.40(d)
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

George Halloweel is an architect, award-winning photographers, author of numerous articles, and a PhD student who has an interest in buried treasure, old mining towns, and historic villages. He has visited every state in the USA except Alaska, and has hiked on the Oregon Trail. This is his first book.

Joan Holub is the author of over 120 books for children including Apple Countdown and Twinkle, Star of the Week. She worked as an art director for a a graphic design firm and dor a children's book publisher before turning to creating children's books full time. She lives in North Carolina. joanholub.com

After years of freelancing as a graphic artist, Lynne Avril fell into illustrating children's books...and has done over 65, including The No-Good Do-Good Pirates and If I Ran for President. Her books have been selected for awards by the Junior Library Guild, the Society of School Librarians International, the Children's Book Council, and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. She lives in Arizona.

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