Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | BookshareThirteen-year-old Hattie Campbell's father dreamed of a new life in Oregon. He dreamed of free land, mild winters, and good soil. He wanted to leave behind a life in Missouri marked by an increased population, high taxes, and sad memories of young children dead from swamp fever. Reluctantly, Augusta Campbell agrees to join her husband, and Hattie and family find themselves on a wagon train traveling the Oregon Trail. Hattie's diary entries tell a story of daily encounters with death: a baby, an old man, river drownings, dead oxen.
The diary of Hattie Campbell
Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie
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Thank you! At first the adventure is exciting, but as the days, weeks, and months pass, Hattie realizes what a dangerous and tedious trip it will be. They cross the prairies, hastening the journey as news of the fate of the Donner party reaches them, but death, disease, weather, and the terrain take a terrible toll. The Campbells lose neighbors and friends until they almost believe they cannot bear to continue. Continue they do: Eight months after they set out, the remaining wagons arrive in Oregon City, just in time for Christmas. Through Hattie's diary, Gregory brings the rigors of the trip to life, but she also includes the details that kept the settlers going--the friendships and camaraderie that developed and the joyful events a wedding and some births that occurred.
It was the fifth entry in Scholastic's Dear America. The book was first published in March and reissued in April with new cover art. My lips are so chapped they bleed when I talk. The only thing to do is dip our fingers into the bucket of axle grease and rub our lips every hour or so. It smells bad, it tastes bad, and the blowing dust sticks. It feels like we must be halfway to Oregon, but Tall Joe says, no, we've only gone five hundred miles.