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Children of the Covered Wagon Review by Jennifer LoucksMary Jane Carr
Christian Liberty Press
502 West Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Children of the Covered Wagon by Mary Jane Carr was originally published in the 1930s. Michael McHugh has revised and edited this wonderful historical fiction and republished it in a quality paperback of 266 pages. It's the perfect supplement to your American history studies in the upper elementary grades.
The reader follows Jerry, an orphan boy of seven, on his journey along the Oregon Trail with his cousin Jim and a little girl, Myra, in another wagon. Jerry has the hopes and fears of any child on an exciting adventure, facing great unknowns. His group encounters Indians, dangerous river crossings, hunger, thirst, heat, and cold. We experience the emotion of leaving a much-loved family heirloom behind on the trail because it's simply too heavy. At the same time, the travelers' faith in God shines throughout the book, even when greatly tested. The seriousness of the danger is balanced by many light moments, so the book never becomes too weighty for young readers.
This is a well-written book, with both vivid description and exciting action. Students will learn about the Oregon Trail experience and enjoy a fast-moving story seen through the eyes of children. My ten-year-old daughter enjoyed it very much. It was perfect for her age, and I thought it was easier to read than many older books, so don't be intimidated by the fact that it's a reprint of an old book. A useful and charming map before chapter one allows the reader to follow the geography of the story. The book is well illustrated, with black-and-white drawings throughout. Your students will enjoy this book!