Here is a historical novel of a young boy who travels across the country in a wagon train during the mid-1800s and his reflective letters to his younger brother.
When Pa Ives dies and leaves a plot of land to his two sons, it's up 12-year-old Austin to leave home and travel to Oregon to take care of the family business. Austin travels with the Morrison family in a wagon train from Pennsylvania in 1851. During the course of his journey on the Overland Trail, Austin writes letters to Levi, his younger brother, sharing his new adventures. Austin tells of hunting wild animals, fishing in streams, fighting bad weather, quarrels among family members, the rages of disease, unexpected deaths, and relations with Native Americans. Austin travels 3,000 miles and experiences life-changing events.
Woodruff includes a map of the Overland Trail. Detailed pencil drawings are highlighted in double spreads.
"[T]he epistolary format and character development offer solid reading." — Booklist
"Will be especially valued as a classroom read-aloud." — Center for Children's Books