Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Quilt Walk review

10-year-old Emmy Hatchett is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Her father has decided that the best chance for his family to be successful is to pack up their home in Illinois and travel the Overland Trail to Colorado, where he'll begin a business catering to the needs of gold miners. 

Emmy is both terrified and terrifically excited about the trip and the idea of starting over in a new home. She's devastated, however, that she must leave behind her grandmother. Her wonderful Grandma Mouse doesn't let Emmy leave without telling her that a sweet surprise awaits once she has crossed the Missouri River. When, on the journey, Emmy opens the surprise, she finds all the supplies she needs to make a quilt...not exactly the surprise Emmy wanted. She hated quilting!

As the family travels on, Emmy begins to quilt and also begins to grow up a bit. The quilting gets her through a few rough times and also helps to create a memory of a very important time in her life. Once they arrive in Colorado, Emmy realizes what an amazing gift her Grandma Mouse actually gave her. 

Sandra Dallas' descriptions of the time period and setting really placed me in 1864, on a journey to the west. I felt as if Emmy were my friend or sister, telling me her experiences and how she was dealing with them. This is the mark of a true storyteller. Being able to feel a part of the story is a huge part of loving a book for me and I definitely walked away from this one, loving what I had read. 

I was able to feel for all of the characters involved in the decision to head west. Ma didn't want to go, Pa didn't believe he had another choice to provide for his family, and Emmy is torn. She wants to go to Colorado, but she doesn't want to leave everything she knows behind, including her beloved Grandma Mouse. 

This would be a great book for kids that enjoyed A Little House on the Prairie series and are looking for something with a little more meat. It would also make a great teaching tool for teachers and homeschooling parents. 

The Quilt Walk
Sandra Dallas
212 pages
Middle Grade
Sleeping Bear Press
September 2012
Review copy

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