Wagons Ho!

George Hallowell and Joan Holub, illus. by Lynne Avril. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-8612-9
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.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-8075-8613-6
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-1-4896-2389-8
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