Takes readers on a journey back in time in order to experience life in the American West in the 1800s, describing clothing, accommodations, foods, local customs, transportation, a few notable personalities, and more.
Part of a series which takes children back through history to previous time periods, this book by Rita Markel is most enjoyable and very informative. The layout is very pleasing - the background color and texture to each page is reminiscent of old documents, there are interesting photos, as well as pictures of items mentioned in the text. I especially liked the side bars which include trivia, safety tips, things not to be missed etc. The book is written in the present tense and advises the reader on a wealth of necessary information to help decide where to go and what to see in America's old west. Ms. Markel tells it like it is (for you feel you are going to be there very soon). It is clearly a very well-researched book, but it's never boring, and one can gallop along at a good pace. There are all kinds of fascinating tidbits in this book eg. nitroglycerin used for blasting railroad tunnels was known as "bang juice"; women were allowed to vote, hold political office and serve on juries in Wyoming from 1869. There is also lots of diversity in this book, with plenty of references to Native American and African American culture, as well as Mexican and Chinese contributions to the old west. Women's issues are also frequently mentioned. The book talks about how to get around, money, local customs, what to wear, where to stay, and what to eat. At the end is a nice clear timeline, a glossary and pronunciation guide. As a teacher, I would recommend this book to students and parents (upper elementary, lower middle school) as a great place to go and get a genuine feel what the old west is/was like!
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