Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Carole P. Roman Explores The American West in One of Her Latest Older Children's Books

Many of us may have learned our stories about the American West through television. One program, in particular, Wagon Train, showed the trials and tribulations faced as new Americans decided to move west and find the open land that everybody was talking about. Many went by wagon train... Now we have the American West according to Carole P. Roman...

There had been record flooding on the east coast making farming unproductive. Food and money were scarce. People needed to relocate.
You were a twelve-year-old boy when your parents left everything they knew in Ohio and decided to go find a better life and richer land with "The Great Migration of 1843."
Migration meant movement, but you preferred to call it when you joined the "Wagon Train of 1843," because it sounded better.

Your name could have been Clarence or Ethan if you were a boy. Your parents could have picked Lucy or Minerva for your sister.

If You Were Me and Lived in...
The American West

By Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Paula Tabor

This relatively new series for older children explores "civilizations" during a specific period in time. It includes much information about the historical life of individuals in the selected period of time and place. This time, The American West during the time when new Americans were looking to the west for needed land and better opportunities. The time period is...after the wars...

I had to laugh at the opening page in Oregon which shows a modern home, while the second page shows the farm house as it was in 1843... Only thing was, for me, the picture of the log cabin on the second page looked very much like my home of today! The only difference is that my log cabin is surrounded by 13 acres of forest, while this family in 1843 is diligently working the land to make a living!

You liked running beside the trail guide's horse. His name
was Sam and he was a fur trapper. He lived and traveled
this area for years. He was paid to ride ahead and see
what to expect the next day. He wore animal skins and
had a rifle.
Your father sold his farm, and most of his furniture, and bought a cover wagon, called a "Conestoga" for you to travel. You heard that people called in a prairie schooner because it looked like a boat. Your father purchased two oxen for the trip. You wanted to take horses, but he said oxen will eat grass on the road, horses needed gain, which was heavy as well as costly.

Together your family headed to Independence, Missouri to meet up with thousands of other people making the 2,000-mile journey to farm the fertile land available out west. There were teachers, carpenters, farmers, merchants, and people from all over the world. You met somebody from Ireland! He came from across the ocean.

It was early May and your parents were advised they must travel in the summer to avoid the harsh winter. The wagon trains were put together to keep the thousands of people moving safely through the vast and unfamiliar territory.

It was fun to read about the boys only having two pair of pants and the girls' wear homemade gingham dresses with full petticoats and aprons. They also had to milk the cows and gather buffalo chips... Do you know what they are?! And, of course, all the meat was provided by hunting... Quite a different life from what we lead now!

At night, the wagons formed a large circle for safety and you and your sister could run and play with other children. After your chores were done, that is.
You slept outside the wagon wrapped in an old quilt beside the wheel. You could count hundreds of stars in the dark night.

You often wondered where all the Indians that you heard about lived. Soon you found out that many had died from diseases brought by the settlers. There were only a few hundred left. They lived peacefully with you as neighbor.

And then they found the land they could acquire...a grant of 640 acres of free land! Can you imagine that much land to one person these days?! All they had to do was farm it, but still, that would require a lot of work for one family... doesn't seem right, does it, when it had been taken from American Indians in the first place...

Anyway, you and your family would be saying goodbye to all the people on the Wagon Train, but some would also have stayed near and become your neighbors, who then helped each other to build their log cabins, barns to protect the livestock, and more importantly, the outhouse! 

By the way, in later years, the outhouses were greatly improved. For instance, the one "we" had, had two holes, one smaller for us children, you know... And, I'm not kidding! LOL

As always, the full-colored art work is beautifully done. Kudos to Paula Tabor for this particular book! Again, in this series is a library of important people from that time and a full glossary.
For me, this took me back to early days of my life and the television programs popular at that time, but the historical presentation is effective and representative of the move toward the American West. Highly recommended...


So I hope you don't mind my adding a couple more theme songs for programs I watched...hey, my older brother "forced" me into it...LOL

Love the music of this as opposed to what they were actual doing!

Paladin was my first personally selected hero of the west!
Even if his program was shown maybe 100 years later...LOL

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