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Ox Cart Angel by J. A. Arnold
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Ox Cart Angel

by J. A. Arnold

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209515,329 (4.35)2

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I'm sad that my review for some reason never made it over to LT. Hmm, well I will do my best to remember the book. It was a great story about the young girl's life moving through her life. This would best be found in a school classroom. ( )
  kristincedar | Mar 9, 2015 |
Ox Cart Angel will transport you back to a time that your children may never knew even existed. It is so hard to realize that there were days before highways, before cars, before grocery stores with everything we could ever need were on every corner. This book reminds us that it really was not that long ago in our timeline that these conveniences were not available to us.
The story starts out with a girl, Claire. Claire is Métis, her mother being Indian and her father French Canadian. After the death of her mother, Claire finds out her father wants to pick up and move from the little town of Pembina to the big city of St. Paul. She does not want to leave the only home town she has grown up in and the friends she loves, but she has no choice. Her father has decided to sell what they can and move his photography business to St. Paul. All they can afford is an old, half blind ox the town children call Bone Bag and a rickety old cart. Having missed leaving with the big wagon train of Métis, but hoping on catching up with them, Claire and her father set out on their difficult journey.
Along the way, Claire refuses to leave her mother's wedding gown, so she wears the dress almost the entire trip, even though it is uncomfortable, as Claire feels the dress is one of her last connections to her mother. As this little crew runs into people, they start to comment on how she appears to be an "angel." Their trip with the old ox and cart is long, monotonous and oftentimes dangerous. This story is about all of the people they run across, the good and the bad, the adverse situations they have to deal with and the unknown future that awaits them. This is also a story of a relationship between a daughter and a father and how hard times make young people take on grown up responsibilities and how these responsibilities turn children into adults.
It took me a while to really get into the story of Ox Cart Angel, but when I did, it was so filled with interesting characters that the father/daughter team met along the way, it was hard to put down. Arnold's writing was so descriptive it was easy for me to picture all of these people in my head. Each new situation the little ox cart team ran into was like another tiny story within the story and it was fun to see what these little side stories were about. I found the book very creative and original, not like any other book I have read set in that era. I think once a reader gets to know the characters and gets into the story, the rest of the book is so entertaining it just flies by. I was excited to see a sequel is in the works for this story as there is so much more that can be written here. I can't wait for the next installment! I have to agree with the previous reviewer, this book NEEDS to find its way into a classroom, boys and girls both would like this book and teachers would find it a perfect read ( )
  Mary.Endersbe | Dec 21, 2012 |
In the mid-1800s, Claire, a young Metis girl and her father, a photographer, set out on a journey to Minneapolis. Claire hates to go and, when her father insists she can take only one thing, she puts on her deceased mother's wedding dress to try to hide it from her father. In many ways, this dress will stand as a metaphor for the journey. Along the way, they encounter many hardships and discrimination. They also encounter kindness, the sacrifice of the settlers and the natives who still occupy the territory, and Claire even has her first kiss.

Ox cart Angel is aimed at middle graders and I would have to say, this is YA historical fiction at its finest. I especially liked Claire's father - his love of his daughter never falters even when she is being difficult and, when she is called half-breed and other names (her mother was Ojibway), he never fails to defend and protect her. There are some scenes that may be too graphic or emotionally upsetting for the very young reader but, overall, this is a beautiful novel, full of love and humour - a book that educates while entertaining, a rare accomplishment in the YA genre. ( )
  lostinalibrary | Dec 20, 2011 |
Although I gave this 4-stars, it's perhaps better than that as a Young Adult novel. The short novel reads as a diary of a young girl who sets out with her father on a nearly endless journey into Minnesota with an ox cart and a flatulent ox. Enroute she deals with fear, discrimination, love and hardship. The story is straightforward and easy reading toward the end while keeping the reader under tension. This is a great read for young adults.

This novel was received in eBook format from Smashwords as a Member Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  mldavis2 | Dec 1, 2011 |
A depiction of sacrifices made by families during the Civil War era to do what was best for their families. Claire is uprooted by her father against her wishes and she is resentful toward him for the journey. A large part of this book is depicting the journey in the middle of nowhere with no interactions with others as it must have been for journeys of this magnitude. This type of story would be a great way to teach students about the sacrifices made in this time period but I would not choose this book simply because of the large spans of text with little information. While these spans are critical for expressing the hardships of the travelers it would be ineffective at pulling the interest of the students. ( )
  adcoletx | Nov 24, 2011 |
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For my mom and dad, Colleen and Scott Arnold, and for librarians everywhere, without whom the world would be a much duller place.
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If I had known how much of my life was about to change, I would have spent that last day in Pembina differently.
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