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A Pioneer Sampler


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About the Author

Barbarba Greenwood worked at a historical museum churning butter, spinning thread, and embroidering cloth before writing A Pioneer Sampler.


Gr 5-8‘Greenwood introduces the fictional Robertsons and, through the family's activities, describes the details of everyday life on the frontier circa 1840. This mix of story and information makes the book a natural for use in whole-language classrooms. Report writers in traditional programs will find useful facts and diagrams tucked in between the fictional segments. Food, clothing, schooling, social life, household equipment, building, and more are covered in the wide-ranging text. The detailed black-and-white drawings are both decorative and informative. Edwin Tunis covers a wider range of topics in Frontier Living (Crowell, 1976) for a slightly older audience. For younger readers, Raymond Bial's Frontier Home (Houghton, 1993) has a narrower focus; his full-color photographs of actual (and reproduced) artifacts add interest. Where pioneer living is part of the curriculum and for readers fascinated by the time period, Greenwood's title will be a welcome and useful addition.‘Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA

Laura Ingalls Wilder meets David Macaulay in this thoroughly engaging book. Publishers Weekly, Starred

Laura Ingalls Wilder meets David Macaulay in this thoroughly engaging book. Greenwood combines a fictional account of a hardworking settler family with detailed descriptions of nearly every aspect of pioneer life, from the working of a gristmill to making cheese, dyeing wool, sugaring off and building a house. Recipes and directions for do-it-yourself activities (candle-dipping, making ink, playing a Native American game called Knucklebones, etc.) help young readers get a real feel for the fabric of life "in the olden days." (They will also endear the book to teachers looking for ideas for those units on the pioneer experience.) Greenwood is a talented writer and her narrative passages about the family, brief as they are, convey a lively sense of character and place. Well-researched and unusually accessible, and generously illustrated with Collins's black-and-white sketches, the book contains something for every level of interest and ability. As a resource, it's a must-have for anyone with even the remotest interest in this period of American history. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

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