Love horses? Historical fiction? Supporting small publishing houses and independent authors?
What Awaits in Blue Skies West?
... a "Blast From the Past" which gives more historical details...
... and Author's Note/Historical Disclaimer which makes me respect and appreciate Mattie Richardson even more!
Throughout this softcover historical fiction novel, you follow the horse Blue and his rider Charlie as they travel the 2,000 mile long Oregon Trail from their longtime home in the Iowa farmlands to their new home. As you would expect, adventure awaits and danger abounds - including water crossings, stampedes, and even wagon train robbers!
Why did you want to get this book?
We read the other books in the series and they were fun.
Before reading this book, did you know much about the Oregon Trail and were you interested in it?
I knew about the Oregon Trail. I had played the game before and studied it a little, but I did not know too much.
Did you learn anything about it through this book?
Yes. I got a little feel for the hardship and understood what the journey might have been like.
Can you tell me anything about the book and your thoughts on it?
I'd say it is a pretty good book. It starts out at a farm and then escalates as they go to the Trail. On the trail the horse's rider faces many learning experiences. It is nice to picture in my mind, is easy to follow along with, and is entertaining and exciting.
One of my favorite scenes was when the boy broke his arm by sneaking out and getting caught in the middle of a buffalo herd. That scene had exciting adventure mixed with life lessons.
I would recommend it to people who like exciting history, people wanting to learn about the Oregon Trail, and people who like horses.
Did you like this book as much as the other ones in the series?
Yes. They are fun, short books, and I like that they are from the horse's perspective.
My Thoughts about Blue Skies West
I have not yet had the time and focus to read the book myself, but I have listened to my son's oral narrations of it and have also read him a chapter or two at bedtime or when he was sick and asked me to read to him instead of him reading on his own.
In doing so, I have come to see that Blue Skies West, like the other books in Horses in History, tells a vivid tale with accurate historical details.
Told from the horse Blue's perspective while still offering character development of other characters, the book draws you in with its unique point-of-view.
I believe that horse lovers, history lovers, and those who like to read stories that do not shy away from the harder parts of history but also treat them with sensitivity might like this story as a family read aloud, for children's independent reading, as a history supplement, or as part of interest-based or unit-based learning.
The Horses in History series are told from a secular - not expressly Christian or Catholic point of view, and as such do not aim to teach any religious/moral lesson. They also, however, do not contain any morally objectionable content. Thus, the books are appropriate for all audiences and could be added to any public school curriculum or library.
Because this book is set in a historical period, does represent events and language in ways that might raise eyebrows to particularly sensitive readers (such as death, the use of the word "Indian", etc.), but it does without any graphic details and in an age-appropriate way.
I commend Mattie Richardson on writing well-researched wholesome, historical reads that can cross over between homeschool, private school, and public school audiences.
Over 25 Homeschool Review Crew families read Blue Skies West. Click through to find links to each family's thoughts in social media, blog, and video reviews