"Join twelve-year-old Sam Butler and his nine-year-old sister, Liz, on the American frontier in 1843. Discover the hard work, fun, and adventure of their daily lives, and along the way learn how to play games, make toys and crafts, and perform everyday activities just like Liz and Sam. You can make your own homemade soda pop and cook up a batch of johnnycakes. Use clay to create your own pottery and design a string of African trade beads, or learn the Native American art of sandpainting. You can even make your own holiday decorations out of dough or pinecones--if you're not too busy playing tangram, a Chinese puzzle game, or a beanbag target game. Pioneer Days is filled with interesting bits of historical information and fun facts about growing up in days gone by. Discover how different--and how similar--life was for American kids in history."
Step inside a 19th century frontier fort and discover for yourself what life was like for the pioneers of the American West. Dramatic cutaway illustrations provide a vivid insight into the challenges they faced:
travel westward with a wagon train of pioneers seeking new land to settle;
watch the fort being built in rugged terrain;
spend a day with a soldier, see his uniform and his equipment;
visit an Indian encampment, and learn how they lived;
find out about the traders, carrying basic necessities from fort to fort;
discover how skilled trappers worked;
witness the coming of the Pony Express, Wells Fargo, and the railroad;
learn about the daily life of the pioneers;
find out what happened to the forts after the West was "won".
"Wright details the experiences and hardships faced by Ginny, a young African American girl, and her family as they travel west from Virginia to California in 1865. Unwelcome on the big wagon trains departing from Independence, Missouri, Ginny's family must form its own group of newly freed friends and relatives. They endure snakebites, drought, broken wagon wheels, extreme temperatures, and treacherous mountains before finally reaching California. In keeping with the picture-book format, Wright includes no maps and mentions no famous landmarks, concentrating instead on a few episodes in the fictional journey."--Booklist
"Press tells the story from the point of view of all the people who lived there, including how and why they came, what kind of communities they built, their courage and their failure. Some of the political and military detail is dry, but the discussion is lively, especially the debunking of myths ("The first Europeans in the American West were neither conquerors nor explorers. They were merely lost"). The impassioned account of the forced removals and relocations of the various Indian nations describes the horrific loss of life, of home, and of cultural identity that made the survivors refugees in their own land. The type is small, but it's broken up with many illustrations and sidebars."