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The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas

The Quilt Walk

by Sandra Dallas

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Ten-year-old Emmy Blue learns the true meaning of friendship--and how to quilt--while making a harrowing wagon journey from Illinois to Colorado with her family in the 1860s.
Based on true story.
  ccsdss | Mar 21, 2017 |
A treat for “Little House” fans, “The Quilt Walk” by Sandra Dallas is a thought-provoking tale of a determined family’s cross-country trip to find their fortune in Colorado. Leaving comfort and friends behind, Emmy Blue and her intrepid parents embark on a journey to find a better life for themselves in the burgeoning gold country of 1863. This ten-year-old is a precocious and endearing mix between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Ramona Quimby that readers (young and old) will relate to! Though it reads like a memoir, this historical fiction novel is chocked full of fascinating details that will provide comprehensive and understandable answers for the burning questions that middle-year readers will have, like "Why can't they just sleep in the wagon?" A coming-of-age novel with a strong female protagonist, this book would be a great companion read to the study of westward expansion while detailing the experiences, expectations, and desires of children of the Civil War era. ( )
  MzzColby | Jan 9, 2014 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 4-7

Plot Summary: Emmy Blue's father just came back from a year-long trip to Colorado, and now he says he wants to move his family out west. He bought land and plans to build a strip mall (my term, not used in the book) to serve all of the families who are moving west looking for gold. Ma doesn't want to go at first because she doesn't want to leave her family and friends, but she is a "dutiful" wife and agrees. She is thankful that Will and Catherine will be joining them. Before they leave, Grandma Emmy gives Emmy Blue a gift and tells her she can't open it until after they cross the Mississippi. Emmy Blue is sorry to leave her friend and her cat, but is looking forward to the adventure. She walks most of the way next to the wagons, which move slowly. She and Ma are wearing all three of their dresses because Pa said there wasn't room to pack them. They already had to leave a lot of stuff behind. The trip is smooth. They join a wagon trail after crossing the Mississippi and Emmy Blue makes friends with Joey. Her ma and aunt make friends with Mrs. Bonner and Mrs. Potts. The women are concerned for Mrs. Bonner because her husband is mean and hits her. Emmy is concerned about her mom because she's getting fat and everyone is worried about her in her "condition." Will Emmy Blue and her family make it to Colorado, or will the rattlesnakes and Indians get them? What will happen with Mrs. Bonner? What is wrong with Meggie?

Setting: Quincy, IL 1862 to Golden, CO

Emmy Blue Hatchett - 10 y/o, named after Grandma Mouse, but Pa changed it to Emily instead of Emma, likes babies, has a doll made out of wax called Waxy, also wearing all three dresses, not interested in quilting, the one time she has to help her family she ties the shoelaces together of one of the women no one likes which creates problems and Ma pretends to punish her
Thomas Hatchett - AKA Pa
Margaret Hatchett - 30 y/o, AKA Meggie, AKA Ma, always looks at the positive when there are things she can't change, proud and stubborn and waits until Thomas tells her she can take off layers, very honest and tells Emmy Blue the way things except about her being pregnant, which comes as a huge surprise to Emmy Blue when the baby is born
Will Hatchett - Pa's brother
Catherine Hatchett - Will's wife, sulking because she doesn't want to go to Colorado but Will tells her to snap out of it and with Meggie's gently prodding she makes the most of it
Agnes Ruth - 2 y/o, Emmy Blue's sister that died when she was 2
Grandpa Bluestone - gives Pa a hard time about taking the family away but at the last minute when he knows it's really happening he says best of luck and well wishes
Grandma Mouse - AKA Emma Bluestone, quilter, gives gifts to Emmy that sometimes she likes and sometimes she doesn't, trying to get Emmy Blue to be a quilter
Mrs. Stark - Ma's good friend at home, presents Ma with a friendship quilt
Abigail - Emmy Blue's best friend, takes Skiddles the cat when the Hatchett family leaves
Betsy Pride - girl near their home in Illinois that had an alcoholic father (whiskey) and had to take care of her dad because her mom was dead and her brother ran away, sometimes Ma would hire Betsy to clean their house, Ma told Emmy to be very kind and a friend to Betsy
Mr. Owen Bonner - crabby, doesn't do his work, tries to cut in line, beats his wife, doesn't want kids
Mrs. Lucy Bonner - newly married, tries to hide her bruises and makes excuses for her injuries, went to town and met Catherine and Emmy Blue at the women's parlor, had her money taken away after that, wasn't a mail order bride, her pastor gave Owens letters to her and they were sweet letters, wants kids
Joey - 8 y/o, closest in age to Emmy Blue and they become friends, dad is a baker, mom is a worrywart about everything and doesn't want them to go to Colorado
Buttermilk John - the guide to the west, very friendly, good with people, the doctor in the group, mountain man, old-time trapper
Celia Potts - 19 y/o, married to James, paints designs on china
James Potts - very kind and loving towards his wife, one of the few men who would spend time with his kids, had a gun in his wagon and shot himself in the gut
Honor Potts - 3 y/o
Bert Potts - 2 y/o
Ulysses Potts - newborn, frequently held by Emmy Blue
Paul Pitkin - has a brother on the trip, help lead the oxen for Mrs. Potts when Mr. Potts dies

Recurring Themes: gold rush, oxen, West, travel, Colorado, quilting, friendship, family

Controversial Issues:
pg 43 "there can be lightning like bolts out of hell"

Personal Thoughts: I enjoyed this story but I think it was a little unrealistic. Very few bad things happened along the wagon trail out west (Joey was bit by a rattlesnake but survived, Mr. Potts died from a self inflicted gunshot wound, and Emmy Blue was rescued by an Indian when she fell asleep and lost the wagon trail). I think it's more geared towards girls because of all of the talk about quilting and there isn't as much adventure. However, it was well written with very well developed characters.

Genre: Historical Fiction (gold rush)

Pacing: medium, things happen but they are not so adventurous
Characters: well developed
Frame: explained

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Dec 30, 2013 |
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Ten-year-old Emmy Blue learns the true meaning of friendship--and how to quilt--while making a harrowing wagon journey from Illinois to Colorado with her family in the 1860s.

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