Did you ever play the old computer game, The Oregon Trail? When I was in middle school I just thought that game was the best thing invented! And when I got this book in the mail, it instantly reminded me of the old wagon trail game...always a good thing!
Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story, written by Judy Young and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, is part of the "Tales of Young Americans" series, which has some truly incredibly titles. Great for learning and entertainment, always with good authors and great illustrators. In this particular tale, we get a dose of two very different cultures, a whole lot of time period info, and a sweet story about two friends.
Minnow, a Native American girl living with her family on the plains of Oregon, meets Rose, a red-haired girl traveling with the Oregon Trail wagon team, creating an introduction of a tribe and the entire wagon team. The girls attempt to become friends, not realizing that their cultural differences will prevent that from happening, and their fathers instantly tear them away from one another.
When Rose and the wagon team are ready to leave, they attempt a river crossing and Rose falls into the churning waters, destined to drown in the deep river. Minnow is able to save her, making it known that friendship can most certainly cross cultural boundaries, just as the wagons crossed the rivers.
The author's note at the beginning of the story expands upon the frequency of death while on the Oregon Trail, whether it be by drowning in river crossings, illness, etc. The power of friendship definitely overpowers the historical aspects of the time period, but that's just fine in a book aimed at the younger age group.
A great addition to the "Tales of Young Americans" series and nice starting point if you haven't already heard of the books. Two other great titles in the series are The Junkman's Daughter, the story of a Jewish immigrant family that uses "junk" as their way to earn money, by Sonia Levitan and The Lucky Star, the story of a young girl growing up during the Great Depression, also by Judy Young.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story
Sleeping Bear Press