Thursday, July 5, 2018

Roughing It on the Oregon Trail

Roughing It on the Oregon Trail is another picture book in Diane Stanley's Time Traveling Twins historical fiction picture book series.

If you aren't familiar with the Time Traveling Twins, there are three books in the series in addition to this book Joining the Boston Tea Party (The Time-Traveling Twins) and Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation (The Time-Traveling Twins) and in all the books the twins travel back in time with their grandmother using a magic hat.

This trip begins with the children discussing family pictures on the wall in their grandmother's house. She asks them which person they'd like to meet and they settle on a picture of a relative who traveled on the Oregon Trail. Thus we find ourselves with the children crossing the west.

I like this series because children are drawn into the time period by sharing the history with other modern children. The fictional children ask questions and act in ways that help bridge the time period between the past and present for children reading or hearing the story.

This is a picture book designed for younger children, so some concepts are simplified or glossed over. The book does attempt to address the challenges without dealing with the realities of death and disease. If you are looking for a story that addresses the issues with the Native American population you won't find it here. This is not a book making social statements, it is a book designed to introduce children used to modern transportation to life during the age of wagon travel.

If you are looking for an introduction to western expansion for younger students this is a good start or an extra read for your unit.

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