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Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie : the Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie… (1997)

by Kristiana Gregory

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: My Story, My Story: Girls, Dear America - Publication Order (5), Dear America Collections (Dear America: Westward Expansion, 1847), Dear America Re-issue - Publication Order (15), Dear America (Westward Expansion: The Oregon Trail, 1847)

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1,968407,205 (3.92)7
In her diary, thirteen-year-old Hattie chronicles her family's arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.

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fair - Michael
  hcs_admin | Nov 21, 2022 |
One of my favorite Dear America books! I remember liking this as a young girl and this one still held its own with a reread. Would recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and/or girls 10 .

From a Christian perspective, Hattie wrestles with accepting God’s will and wonders why the Lord lets bad things happen. Her mother tells her that sometimes God works in mysterious ways, and Hattie takes comfort in her belief that God will protect her and her family and work everything for good. She learns throughout the book to love and help others, even those who seem completely unlovable, and this theme is built upon many times. She also learns to value those who are different from her.

Content warnings (spoilers ahead): A man falls from a roof and dies. A coffin on its way to burial is sucked under a steamboat and the body disappears. The main character’s sisters are mentioned to have died from disease before the story starts. A little girl is lost on the trail, and it’s implied that she was never found again. A mother dies from illness. Three characters die by hemlock, and their deaths are moderately described (you’d be surprised how much hemlock, which is extremely deadly, can be found in neighborhoods and parks!). One character wonders what marriage is like. Two young characters are married and the bride becomes pregnant. One character dies by suicide. Another dies from a snakebite. Another gives birth, and this is mildly described. Multiple characters die in river crossings from falling into the water, wagons tipping over, etc. Mentions of guns and shooting, scalpings, the Donner Party, cannibalism, maggot-infested meat, snakebites, buffalo droppings, butchering animals, oxen dropping dead, hemlock, birth, and thievery. The word “Injun” is used multiple times by a few characters. I may have forgotten a few potential content warnings as this was written from my memory and not from any notes I took (I didn’t take any notes). Overall, Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie seems very true to the real experience of many pioneers of the Oregon Trail. My 10-year-old sister read it, and I knew she could handle the content. However, this book still might not be appropriate for the more sensitive. Some caution is advised when giving this book to younger readers. ( )
  BooksbyStarlight | Oct 25, 2022 |
This was the first or second book I read of the series and its spinoffs (Royals plus a few of the My Name is America books). I have a definite soft spot for it, and was pleased to discover I hadn't outgrown it. Still a really good historical fiction diary, and what a way to write! Most of the action takes place over three months, but feels much longer. The descriptions were vivid as ever, the stakes just as high. I shook my head at the teenagers and was shocked they were marrying so early, and with their parents' consent. It was a different time, indeed. I was fascinated at the references to other trails and groups and how they were approached. When the Donner party was first mentioned, I thought of the Youtube video by Caitlin Doughty, which examines the events with modern knowledge. That made it even sadder. I laughed when Hattie discovered Pacific NW weather for the first time (born and raised Seattle, here), and crowed, "You're Southern and the sun's never gonna appear again!" I was teasing a fictional teen, but it's fun to poke fun at people who don't know what a sun break is. I had fun reading this again. I'm glad I was able to get it at my library. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 24, 2022 |
I read this series as a kid back when they were originally published. I remember I used to but then at Sam's Club. I loved every one I read but this one was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I read it so many times the pages were falling out and the bookmark ribbon was in strings. ( )
  JessBass87 | Jul 4, 2021 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristiana Gregoryprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book about a journey is dedicated, with deep appreciation, to the outstanding editors who have guided and encouraged me along my own journey as a writer: Jeff Fairbanks, Charlie Ferrell, Scott Gray, Regina Griffin, Karen Grove, Tracy Mack, Ann Reit, Art Seidenbaum, and Elinor Williams; most especially to my literary agent and friend, Barbara Markowitz.
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In her diary, thirteen-year-old Hattie chronicles her family's arduous 1847 journey from Missouri to Oregon on the Oregon Trail.

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