Sunday, November 11, 2012

THE QUILT WALK- Sandra Dallas

Last week at the library, I found THE QUILT WALK, the first children's novel by author Sandra Dallas (her best known novel is probably THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB). I was excited because Dallas is a Colorado author. And the family in the book, set sometime shortly after the Civil War, is moving west from Quincy, Illinois, to begin a new life in Golden, Colorado. Our third grade class is starting Colorado history next month, and I was hoping it would be a good read for some of that class.

Dallas has written about ten adult novels, most (maybe all?) historical fiction. She is a researcher who knows her stuff. Readers will come away knowing a great deal about pioneer life. Emmy Blue's father, for instance, is concerned that the wagon is too full, tells his wife and daughter that they can only take the clothes they can wear. Emmy and her mother wear three layers of clothes throughout most of the book. The book title comes from a bag of quilt square that Emmy's grandmother, who wants her granddaughter to grow up without domestic  skills,  gives to her as they are leaving. Emmy Blue makes the quilt squares throughout the journey. The family dines on typical pioneer fare, including staples like beans and dried apple pie.

The family face many typical pioneer challenges. They leave behind family and friends, realizing that it will be a very, very long time (if ever)before they see them again. They cross the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Emmy's friend, Joey, is bitten by a rattlesnake. Another settler accidentally shoots himself and dies, leaving a wife and three children. Celia Bonner, another traveler,  is struggling with the challenges of an abusive husband.

This is not a book I will recommend as a third grade read aloud. But it's a terrific read for kids who like historical fiction, or want to know a little more about what it might be like to be a pioneer traveling west in the late 1800's.  I'm thinking probably kids who liked the American Girl or Little House series, or maybe just kids who are ready to try historical fiction will enjoy this one.

1 comment:

Linda B said...

I guess more than one author is turning to the children's market, right? I hadn't heard of this Dallas' book & it sounds interesting, just right for those who do like the history-based stories. Thanks, Carol.