cover image Joshua's Westward Journal

Joshua's Westward Journal

Joan Anderson. William Morrow & Company, $13 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06680-2

Anderson and Ancona's living history series collaboration continues in a story about the Carpenter family's 1836 journey west, duly recorded by son Joshua. The family packs all their possessions in a Conestoga wagon and heads west along the National Road (really only a trail). It doesn't take readers long to understand the brutality, danger and loneliness of such a journeyJoshua is forthright with the details. Like recent fictional accounts by Ann Turner and Patricia MacLachlan, death is ever-presentJosh's Ma dies and is buried along the trail. They eventually reach their destination, buy a farm, make friends and try to begin anew. Ancona's photographs, taken at living-history museums in Iowa and Indiana, capture the spirit and struggle of the journey. Together the powerful narrative and the black-and-white photos (with unselfconscious, well-posed models) create an eloquent document of our pioneer past. Ages 7-10. (September)