The Sunsets of the West
It is Pa who decides to leave New Hampshire. "Gather your necessaries," he tells his family. So they pack up pots and pans, food, and farm tools. Ma hates to leave her home. Still, she says, "Gather your loved things." So they take a book and seeds and their dolls. "Good-bye," the youngest calls. Then they are gone. With the necessaries clanking tink-tink, tonk-tonk, and wagon wheels creaking, they make their way. They meet other families, and Ma hears stories that cause new dreams to pull her heart, too. But the dreams must share the trek with tears. Tears for the days without rain, then tears for the bullet rain that comes, for the swelling rivers that carry their cow and chickens away, for the graves they pass. The family keeps its hopes alive by singing songs: storm songs, wheel-fixing songs, songs for going on. Johnston's graceful story gives readers a strong feeling for one family's struggle and accomplishment on the westward journey to a new home.
- 2002 Roger D. Johnston and Susan T. Johnston
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