Frontier fiction fans will love 'The Quilt Walk'


You never went anywhere without it.

When you were little, you couldn't even go to the kitchen without your blankie. It was your best friend, protector and cuddle buddy, making you feel safe and covered. You couldn't sleep without it. You couldn't play without it. Even when it was tattered, smelly and dirty, your much-loved blankie never left your side.

When Emmy Blue left her home in the spring of 1864, she said goodbye to people and things she loved. But in the new book "The Quilt Walk," by Sandra Dallas, Emmy Blue's grandma made sure there'd be a special blanket at the end of Emmy's journey.

Though she would, Ma didn't want to go.

Emmy Blue Hatchett's mother didn't want to leave friends and family to go to Golden, Colo. The wilderness was no place for a fine lady, she said. The mining camp would be lonely. There wouldn't be anywhere to buy fabric or thread or have a quilting bee.

And that was fine with Emmy Blue.

Ma and Grandma Mouse had tried hard to make Emmy into a lady, but she wasn't having any of that or of quilting. There was nothing worse than stitching, so Emmy Blue was more than happy with Pa's idea of packing their belongings in a covered wagon and moving across the prairie.

It didn't seem like such a great idea, though, when Pa said they had to leave things behind. Ma's rocker, a beautiful chest, blankets and fine clothes were passed on to friends and neighbors. Emmy Blue's cat, Skiddles, was given away, too.

Yet, even through sadness, the trip seemed exciting. There were rivers to cross and towns to see. The Hatchetts traveled with Emmy Blue's aunt and uncle, and once they all crossed through Iowa and Missouri, then over the Mississippi River, they joined up with a wagon train. There were a lot more people traveling with them then, including a guide who could get them through safely.

But traveling by covered wagon wasn't easy. There were dangers inside the wagon train and out, and Emmy Blue had responsibilities. She also had a gift from Grandma Mouse to keep her occupied, and Ma had another surprise coming down the trail.

So your young'un has raced through all the Little House books and you'd love to find something else for her to enjoy? You can stop your search here. This is what she's looking for.

"The Quilt Walk" is based loosely on a true event, and though Dallas admits that her book is "mostly a work of fiction," just knowing that there was a real girl who walked across the prairie to Colorado will thrill kids who love tales of pioneering. There's authenticity here (including death and some off-the-pages violence), plenty of action, great characters, a happy ending, and I loved it.

If your child is done walking on the Wilder side, this book needs to be on her horizon. For 8- to 12-year olds looking for their next adventure, "The Quilt Walk" just about covers it.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer's children's book reviews weekly.

 

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