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Author: Dallas, Sandra
Twelve-year-old Belle Martin and her family move to Mingo, Colorado, in 1910 when the U.S. government offers 320 acres of land free to homesteaders.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 501249
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/18)
School Library Journal (03/01/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2018 Gr 4–6—In the early 1900s, the Martins move to Colorado, where Father plans to earn free land by farming government acreage for five years. Twelve-year-old Belle and her family endure a series of harrowing events: baby Sage survives an encounter with a rattlesnake; Belle's sibling Becky dies, as does Mama; a blizzard threatens the entire family; and an invasion of grasshoppers must be fought off. Later lighter moments, such as Belle playing matchmaker for her widowed father, lessen the tension. The author's careful attention to historical detail can be found in her vivid description of the Martins's "soddy" home. A cast of believable characters with distinct personalities brings this slice of U.S. history to life; particular attention is given to how the difficulties of frontier life impact the children. The Martins neighbor Lizzie, an independent woman who homesteads alone and offers the Martins valuable support, is a strong and memorable character. VERDICT Dallas's latest work of historical fiction (Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky; The Quilt Walk) conveys the importance of family and the value of neighbors helping one another. A fine selection where fiction about white U.S. frontier life is in demand.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2018 Belle is a young eastern Colorado pioneer enthralled by her new home. Her older sister Carrie is not quite as happy—she loved their old home in green, heavily settled Iowa. The life of dry-earth farmers in the early 1900s was exceedingly tough, and the family of nine struggles. When illness claims the girls’ mother and younger sister, the future seems precarious, especially Carrie’s hope to go to college and become a teacher. Plucky Belle, though, won’t give up, and a community of disparate settlers—a lonely hermit, a generous ranching family, a lively bachelorette homesteader—comes together to help. Perseverance, that eternal ethos of settler sagas, is personified in Belle, who even schemes at matchmaking. The standard plot points of many pioneer stories are touched on: plagues of locusts, blizzards, and even a solitary bad guy scared off by intrepid heroines. Dallas, a prolific author of adult westerns and a Spur Award winner, has written a story young readers drawn to historical fiction like the Little House series will find satisfying. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.