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Prairie Skies: Book One - Pioneer Summer
Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Patrick Faricy
Historical Fiction (Series)
Ages 6 to 8
Aladdin, 2002, 0-689-84349-6
  Charlie Keller loves his home, his dog Danny, and being able to spend time with his grandfather. For him Massachusetts is the ideal place to live. He is therefore very upset when his father explains that the family, without Danny and Grandpa, will be moving to Kansas territory. Charlie's parents are abolitionists and feel that it is very important that they support their anti-slavery feelings with their actions. By settling in Kansas they, and others like them, hope to influence whether Kansas becomes a slave state or not.
  The journey is a hard one for Charlie but it is made more pleasant when he meets a girl called Flory. Flory and her family are from Missouri and are supporters of slavery. Charlie wonders if he should be friends with Flory because of her background. Shouldn't he just like her for herself? One the other hand Charlie also sees some slave children whose obvious poverty upsets him. How hard it is for a child to be forced to make such decisions because of politics and al dilemmas that are difficult to get to grips with, things he does not fully understand.
  This confusing situation and many others makes it very challenging for Charlie to accept the prairie and life on it. Hardship is all around the little family as they plant their first crops and sleep under the wagon because they do not have the time to build a house.
  The author has expertly meshed the bigger problems of the times with the worries, fears, and troubles of a young boy. Charlie's parents may care about the institution of slavery and its ramifications, but their son just misses his grandfather and wishes he had a dog.
  This is the very promising first book in a series of three. Through The looking Glass will be reviewing the books that follow as they are published.

Pioneer Summer

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