Embarking on a new life in a new place, Zoe and her family journey west to the Nebraska Territory in the 1800s. They build their soddie, but in the endless miles of prairie it can’t be seen from any distance. Zoe finds some dandelions and replants them on their soddie as a surprise for her mother--a sunny beacon for all of them on the monotonous prairie.
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EVE BUNTING has written over two hundred books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz, The Wall, Fly Away Home, and Train to Somewhere. She lives in Southern California.
Kindergarten-Grade 3?Looking for a better life, a pioneer father moves his pregnant wife and daughters west. Both Zoe and Rebecca recognize their mother's isolation and depression as they arrive at their claim stake in the middle of the prairie, and try to work extra hard to please her. Zoe's first-person account describes a visit to neighbors (only three hours away) and a trip to town for supplies, where she finds something that she hopes will help cheer her mother: a clump of dandelions, which she and her father speculate came west as a seed on a wagon. They plant it on the roof of their sod home, and the story ends with the clump looking dry and lifeless. However, the closing words indicate that the family feels more hopeful about their prairie life to come; the last picture shows a panoramic view of their farm of the future, with the dandelions covering the roof and the fields plowed and fertile. The gouache on canvas paintings are grand and sweeping; they emphasize the vast expanse of open land that dwarfs and seems to swallow up everything that comes in contact with it. The characters are frequently shown in deep shadow underneath sun hats, as the sun blazes down on them. When their faces are shown, there is a hazy lack of focus in an almost impressionistic style that heightens the centrality of place and climate, rather than individual character. Yet these people make their mark and find their place; modern readers will identify with this family's experiences and concerns, and will admire their adventurous spirits. Bunting tells a poignant story, which is made even more affecting by its lovely illustrations.?Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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