Wagons West!

Roy Gerrard, Author, Roy Gerrard, Illustrator
Roy Gerrard, Author, Roy Gerrard, Illustrator Farrar Straus Giroux $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-38249-0
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-374-48210-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-20138-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-30179-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-20401-9
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A nattily clad cast of petite pioneers, with the compressed, spool-shaped bodies and outsized heads characteristic of Gerrard's work, gambols across the wry spreads of this verse adventure about an 1850 wagon trip to the West. When Buckskin Dan rides into town praising the riches of the frontier, recalls the amiable narrator, ""The idea of Oregon so appealed to everyone/ That without a hitch we made the perfect plan:/ We would form a wagon train, and were lucky to retain/ As our trusty guide and leader Buckskin Dan."" Along the way, the group survives inclement weather on the plains, dances during a stopover at Fort Laramie, befriends a lost Arapaho child, bests cattle thieves and builds rafts to carry the wagons down the mighty Columbia River. While the rhyme and rhythm flounder periodically, for the most part Gerrard's (Croco'nile) buoyant poem rolls easily off the tongue. But it's the art that gives this volume its flavor: the stylized characters indicate not so much an artistic idiosyncrasy as a fully realized imaginative vision just waiting to be shared with the reader. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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