cover image Along the Santa Fe Trail: Marion Russell's Own Story

Along the Santa Fe Trail: Marion Russell's Own Story

Marion Russell. Albert Whitman & Company, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-0295-2

In 1852, seven-year-old Marion Russell, her mother and brother traveled in a train of 500 wagons along the Santa Fe Trail, from Fort Leavenworth, Kans., to California. Wadsworth, whose children's biographies include accounts of John Muir and Rachel Carson, has adapted Russell's memoirs of the tumultuous journey, which were transcribed by her daughter in the 1920s. As she explains in a foreword, Wadsworth preserved Marion's ``eloquent voice'' as much as possible. Her flowing first-person narrative contains lovely descriptive passages (``The vast open country that is gone from us forever rippled like a silver sea in the sunshine''), as well as such engaging particulars as Russell's frustration at not being able to reach all the buttons in the back of her dress (``Why couldn't they have been put in front where I could get at them?''). Watling's art pays similar attention to period details. Whether depicting a glorious sunset on the plains or the bustling streets of Santa Fe, his polished colored ink and colored pencil pictures are historically accurate and filled with energy. Ages 7-11. (Sept.)